In the late summer and early fall, gardeners all over set about their fall cleanup. It’s not all bad news though, as what you do in the fall will directly impact what you will find come spring and the new planting season.
Fall cleanup involves a bit more than simply cleaning up the fallen leaves, as you have to get rid of the annuals, dig over the dirt in the beds and cut back the perennials so they can grow back big and strong come spring. The experts suggest you use some of the fallen leaves to use as a blanket around newer trees and shrubs to provide some warmth throughout the winter, but if your area is prone to tough winters you may want to do this around all of your trees. You have to pick them up sooner or later anyway, so you may as well put them to good use before you do!
Fall is also a good time to prune back trees (especially after the leaves have fallen). It allows you to prune when the tree is in a resting state so you aren’t doing extra damage to the tree itself and it’s also a lot easier to see what you are doing without the leaves in the way. Just make sure you don’t over prune or you will kill the tree. The general rule of thumb is to not take off anymore than 30% of the branches.
It’s a great time in fall to get the last of the weeds out of the driveway or pathways and of course make sure everything is ready to endure a long cold winter. If you have newer trees you may want to use burlap to cover them or install a snow fence to further protect them from the coming season.
If you do your due diligence in the fall cleanup, come spring clean up time (yes, you’ll have to do it again!) you will notice that your plants are healthy and happy and getting set to grow and bloom again.