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Five Fall Gardening Must-Do’s

Thinking of selling your Crofton home in Spring?  If so, it’s more important than ever for you to pull your green thumb out of your pocket and take care of these Fall Garden Must-Do’s.  They will reward you with a beautiful lawn and garden when the growing season begins in Spring – just in time to put your home on the market!

In fact, you could say that spring curb-appeal begins today!

Flower-daffodil1. Bulbs – Now is the season for planting your spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils. 

It’s also time to lift or “harvest” tender bulbs from your garden for next season, including gladiola, dahlia and tuberous begonia bulbs.  Place them in a sheltered place, leaving the foliage intact, for two or three weeks – except begonia stems, which should dry until they are brittle enough to break off.

Store these bulbs over the winter in vermiculite or peat moss in a dark cool place, about 45 to 50 degrees, and be sure to dust them with a fungicide and insecticide to minimize disease and insect development over the winter.

2.  House plants – You probably already brought in all houseplants that were on the porch or patio over the summer.  Don’t worry if some of their leaves are lost, or if browning occurs around the edges, because this is to be expected.  Be sure to check the plants for insects and disease, treat them if necessary, and re-pot any that have outgrown their containers.

Fall Lawn3.  Lawn Care – We were fortunate to have about 5 inches of rain recently, but don’t forget to water your lawn if we have another long dry spell.  According to David Beau lieu, winter creates desert conditions for our lawns, regardless of any snowfall. 

A beautiful spring and summer lawn depends, to some degree, on what you do to care for it in fall.  If you didn’t apply herbicide in September to control weed infestations, do it now.  Aerate the soil, if it is compacted or if thatch is a problem, and apply gypsum and fertilizer to improve soil conditions and provide nutrients for healthy turf growth. 

Keep your lawn trimmed at about 1.5–2 inches in the fall and winter, as opposed to 2–3 inches during the growing season.  Snow mold or powdery mildew might be a problem if your grass is longer than that. 

By the way, it’s okay to use your lawn mower as a leaf mulcher or vacuum to prevent leaves from getting packed down and smothering your lawn.

Snow-covered tree4.  Trees – Young trees are susceptible to rodent damage, so wrap the tree trunks with hardware cloth up to the expected snow-line to protect them.  Trees and plants that have developed a thick or corky bark are usually safe from this damage.

It’s a good idea to install simple windbreaks to protect those young tender trees (and shrubs) from winter winds.  And, if you have evergreen that are exposed to heavy wind, spray them with an anti-desiccant for protection.  Spray them again in mid-winter during a thaw if the temperature is above 40 degrees for a few hours.

5.  Roses.  Cut rose canes back to about 6–12 inches, and mound the plants with fresh topsoil.  Then cover them with cones or bushel baskets for complete protection.  Some gardeners cover their roses and other tender perennials with bags of leaves.

 

In fall, it may seem the garden doesn’t need us as much as it did a few months ago.  But, as you can see, there are still plenty of garden must-do’s for us in November.  If you’re thinking of selling your home in spring, your fall preparations will help maximize the beauty of your lawn and garden to enhance your curb appeal.

Fall Gardens FAQ:  Maintenance of Fall Gardens

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