As the cool weather sets in, we enter a crucial season for yard work: autumn. Now is the best time of year to spread grass seed and repair damage to your lawn. Tasks like weeding and pruning are important, and much more enjoyable on cooler fall days than they will be in a few weeks, when you’ll have to wrestle with frozen and dead foliage.
Gabrielle Polman, assistant store manager at Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery in Barrie, has the following comments about gardening in the fall.
“In the past, it was believed that cleaning out the garden in the fall was the best thing to do,” she says. “The educated gardener now knows that leaving plants as they are is incredibly important for the survival of beneficial insects such as butterflies, native bees, lady bugs and other predatory insects that are essential pollinators or the predators of harmful bugs in our gardens. They need shelter to overwinter.”
Of course, if the garden suffered a fungal infestation, leaves should be removed, and diseased plants should be cut to prevent spreading.
Pat Scott from Scott’s Garden Centre in Orillia says now is a good time to think about lawns and shrubs, as well.
Applying fall lawn fertilizer to keep your lawn healthy is important, and October is a good time to apply nematodes to control white grubs and grass seed to thicken a healthy lawn and prevent weeds.
“Also, this is a great time for planting perennials and shrubs and adding mulch after planting is highly recommended for protection as well as giving a finished look. It’s like the icing on the cake,” Scott says. “You can plant as long as you can dig which usually includes early November.”
Fruit trees and Crimson King or Royal Red maples can be protected with plastic tree guards to avoid frost cracks. Burlap or shrub and tree netting can be used on evergreens that may get salt spray or wind burn, but do not apply until early to mid-November and remove when the weather
Tips from Bradford Greenhouse
Don’t let weeds make a comeback during cooler fall months – stop them in their tracks!
Amend your soil: put manure into your garden beds and work it well into your soil to give plants nutrients in the early spring when the soil is too wet to properly work in it.
Plant spring bulbs: looking for tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to brighten your days in the early spring, get them planted now for a beautiful show of colour in the spring.
Water your evergreens well until the soil freezes, keeping them hydrated in the fall will help prevent winter burn.
Tie up with rope any shrubs and evergreens in the path of the snow blower or in areas of heavy snowfall, to prevent the branches from breaking off. Burlap the more delicate plants. Burlap should be tied loosely around the plants and done when the plants have lost their leaves or when the temperatures are staying cold.
Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery
Scott’s Garden Centre
Barrie’s Garden Centre
Kell’s Garden City
Windmill Garden Centre
by Robin MacLennan