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Getting Your Garden Ready for Autumn

Getting Your Garden Ready for Autumn

Jul 10, 2024

As hot summer days begin to cool and fall is coming, your garden requires special attention to prepare for the changing season. Cooler weather makes working in your garden more accessible and provides better-growing conditions for many plants. Also, the critical steps you take in your gardens this autumn can set the stage for a healthier and more vibrant garden next spring. Here's a guide to getting your garden ready for autumn.

Clean Up and Clear Out

The first steps in preparing your garden for autumn are weeding and clearing out any debris. Weeding all gardens now means nicer-looking fall gardens and fewer weeds to deal with in the spring. It may have been too hot to spend time weeding during summer, and weeds have popped up. Avoid using weed killers to remove weeds. Instead, soak the soil and use a hand-weeding tool to dig out the roots of each intruder.

Walk around your garden and remove dead branches, rotting fruit, and other debris. Also, remove any annuals that have stopped blooming to make room for new fall plantings. Clear away dead or diseased plants, spent annuals, and fallen leaves. Clearing away this organic matter helps prevent the spread of disease and pests that can overwinter in your garden.

Tip-Compost healthy plant material to enrich your soil, but discard any diseased plants to avoid contamination.

Fall flowers

Prepare the Soil

Fall is an excellent time to improve your soil's health. Work on the soil once summer plants have been removed or pruned. You can start by turning the soil over to aerate it. Whether you take that step, include organic matter like compost or manure into the soil. Add about an inch to your garden soil in the fall. This process will enhance soil structure and fertility, making it more productive for fall flowers and next season's crops.

Tip- You should conduct a soil test to determine if you should add anything to improve pH levels. For example, your soil might need lime or sulfur.

Plant Autumn Bulbs and Perennials

Once you have weeded, cleared away, and improved the soil, you can start planting as long as temperatures in your region have begun to dip. Plant bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and crocuses, for a spring bloom. Additionally, autumn is an ideal time to plant perennials, as the cooler weather allows roots to establish without the stress of summer heat.

Coral Bells or heuchera are excellent fall perennials to add texture and colorful ever-green foliage to any garden. Gardeners love coral bells native to North America because of the delicate pink bell-shaped flower that attracts hummingbirds in the spring and summer. They love it more for the incredible variation of unique foliage from purple to silver and bronze. The leaves are also distinctive, having a veined or ruffled look. Coral bells are easy to grow, disease, drought, deer resistant, and beautiful year-round.

Tip-Plant bulbs at a depth of about three times their height, and ensure they are planted with the pointed end facing up.

Prune and Divide

Late summer and early autumn are great for pruning trees and certain plants and dividing overcrowded perennials. Inspect trees for discoloration and disease. You might like to research pruning by species, but generally, prune away any damage you find. Divide perennials to manage their size but also promote healthy growth. Remember that certain perennials like phlox, yarrow, and bee balm don't like being divided, so cut them back to within a few inches of the ground.

Tip-Clean and sharpen your pruning tools before use to ensure clean cuts and reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Continue to Water

Although autumn brings cooler temperatures, it's essential to continue watering your garden, especially for newly planted bulbs and perennials. Water is available once a week if the weather is dry and less if there's rain. Ensure your garden gets at least one inch of water per week until the ground freezes. While perennials are dormant, the roots grow and take in moisture until the ground freezes. Well-hydrated plants better withstand winter weather's stresses.

Tip- While watering in the late afternoon works okay in the summer, it's not the best time to water as temperatures cool. Water in the morning to reduce the risk of fungal diseases, which can thrive in the cool, damp conditions of autumn nights.

To prepare your garden for autumn, you should take several important steps. By weeding, cleaning up, pruning, enriching the soil, planting bulbs and perennials, mulching, and watering wisely, you'll set the stage for a beautiful fall garden and provide for a thriving one next spring.