Fall landscaping preparations ready your yard for a long winter and glorious spring.
“Fall mulching is better for the plants than spring mulching,” says
Dan Taft, owner of The Cutting Edge in Chantilly, Va. “It helps protect
roots from frost and helps retain moisture during a cold and dry
Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch around shrubs and trees. Taft warns home owners to avoid using free mulch from municipal piles, which often contain disease spores; instead, buy hardwood shredded mulch from home and garden centers, he says.
“Cheap, dump mulch mainly is made from trees that have died from disease,” Taft says. “Many diseases will linger in the mulch, like leaf spot and pine bark borers. You don’t want ground-up diseased plants around your landscaping.”
Remove the dead and dying
Fall isn’t the time to prune, because that encourages growth when
healthy plants should remain dormant. But don’t shelve your shears and
loppers yet. Fall is the time to neaten your landscaping before putting
it to bed for the winter.
“If you remove dead landscaping in fall, you don’t have to look at it all winter,” Taft says.
Wrap delicate shrubs
Heavy snow, ice, and high winds can dry and split your delicate and pricey shrubs. To protect your landscaping from the winter elements:
Take advantage of fall sales
Early fall until the ground freezes is a good time to plant trees and
shrubs. Not only do cooler weather and autumn rain put less stress on
young landscaping plants, nurseries often have sales to empty their
shelves before winter.
“They need to sell every plant by Dec. 1,” Taft says. “Nurseries generally pay a third of the price that you’re paying. So don’t be afraid to offer less than the asking price. If you’re buying several things, the manager may give you a break.”