Just because the weather turns cold doesn’t mean the gardening season has ended. Fall and winter are vital when it comes to several garden activities. Fall planting gives trees, flowers and a variety of plants the time to establish their root systems before winter comes, allowing them to fully bloom come springtime. This seasonal preparation helps to prevent disease and control pests.
Many experts suggest overwintering is the best way to prepare for the cold weather, which means there are steps you can take to protect your garden before you enter the season. If you haven’t had the first frost yet, it might not be time to start the overwintering process, but there is still garden maintenance you can do to help when the cold weather comes.
Here are some of the tasks that should be on your winter prep checklist:
This is the last time you can plant bulbs like daffodils, amaryllis and tulips in your garden if you want them to beautifully bloom in the spring. This will give their roots ample time to grow, and the less time you wait to plant, the less time the bulbs will be able to establish themselves. Good quality bulbs should be fresh and firm before planting. You can also store bulbs you haven’t planted yet in a cool, dry place.
Different pests and diseases will overwinter in old plant debris, so now is the time to get it out of your garden. Put this waste into your compost pile, unless it’s diseased, and then it should be discarded or destroyed. This time of year is also important to regenerate your compost heap and replenish your mulch.
Fall is a great time to do a soil test to check the pH and nutrient levels to see if your soil is too acidic or alkaline. You can also add different soil amendments like manure, compost, rock phosphate and more. Doing this now gives those materials time to break down and become biologically active, improving the health of your soil in the spring.
Weeding is a productive winter gardening task, which is important to do before the ground gets too hard. Fertilizing during this time promotes root growth and helps the lawn with the nutrients it needs to both recover from summer and prepare for next season. To assist with removing weeds from your patio or pavers, use a safe alternative to glyphosate, such as Earth’s Ally® Weed & Grass Killer. Be careful to avoid overspraying on desirable plants or grass with a non-selective herbicide.