What to do now - Jobs in the Garden by Season

16 essential fall garden tasks

By
Judith Adam

Here are some fall dos and don'ts, plus tips to help your garden get a jump-start on spring


Here are some more of fall dos and don'ts, plus tips to help your garden get a jump-start on spring.

[9]
Autumn is the only time to move clematis or honeysuckle vine to prevent shock to growth: both vines begin extending leaves and shoots while frost is still in the spring ground. If the vines are large, cut them back by half, and they'll leap forward next spring.

[10]
Use generous amounts of anti-transpirant sprays (available at garden centres) on needle evergreens and broadleaf evergreens, such as euonymus, Japanese pieris and rhododendrons. The waxy coating helps to preserve tissue moisture and prevent winter windburn and sunscald. And lavish it on your Christmas tree to help keep it fresh through the holidays.

[11]
Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are sweeter after hard frost and can be harvested all winter. Remove top foliage from the plants and cover them with a 15-centimetre-thick mulch of leaves or straw (available from garden centres) spread to similar thickness. Throw an old piece of carpeting on top and let it snow. Lift the coverings to dig out veggies as needed.

[12]
Tender hybrid teas, floribunda and grandiflora roses need hilling up about 25 centimetres above their crowns with fresh soil or triple mix. A simple trick that reaps armloads of rose blooms is to tie the flexible new canes of climbing roses in a horizontal arc along fences or trellises. This will trigger the breaking and blooming of many more buds next summer.

[13]
As for garden hygiene, pick up or rake diseased leaves from under roses (blackspot) and crabapples (scab) and dispose of them in the garbage, not the compost pile. Left on the soil all winter, they'll reinoculate the plants with disease spores the following spring.

[14]
Squirrels “read” the disturbed soil and marks you leave when planting their favourite tulips and crocuses. Outwit them by concentrating spring bulb plantings in large groups and disguising your marks by flooding the soil surface with water. Then cover them with five centimetres of leaves topped with some shrubby branches.

[15]
Remove the debris of summer annuals, then be honest with yourself: will you really go out in early spring to remove remaining perennials? Clean up as much as possible now, leaving strategic clumps for attractive winter display and food for birds. Sedums, hostas, astilbes and ornamental grasses are beautiful in snow.

[16]
Unless you really are Snow White, try not to create a garden of little winter dwarfs all wrapped up in burlap coats. Tightly wrapped burlap does plants more harm than good by potentially holding ice against their tissues. To protect them from wind or household dryer vent emissions, set up stake-and-burlap barriers, fastened with diaper pins, to break air currents.

 

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