A fall clean-up is an important part of maintaining a healthy garden. Fall clean-ups help to prevent pests and diseases from overwintering in the garden. Use our fall clean-up checklist to make sure your garden is in the best shape before winter comes!
- Document the layout of your garden. This will help you with planning your garden for the next season and making sure your crops are rotated. Rotating your crops is important because it can help increase soil nutrition and decrease the chance of spreading diseases in the soil.
- Cut back vines with pruning shears. Leave six of the strongest canes for every foot of your row of grapes, blackberries, raspberries, etc. so the new canes can grow in the spring. Pile soil around them to prevent hard frost reaching the canes.
- Remove all fallen leaves from garden beds. You can even save your leaves instead of throwing them away – bag them up and leave them to break down during the winter. You can also use them sooner by shredding and then raking them into flower garden borders.
- Cut back any perennials that do not offer winter interest to help them survive. Perennials should be cut back to the ground, unless the plant’s crown is above the ground (like lady’s mantle and heuchera). Sprinkle the soil around them with phosphate fertilizer and then cover with a layer of hay.
- Remove leftover plants from the annual garden beds and put them in a compost pile (unless they show signs of disease). Plants that offer winter interest do not need to be removed, including ornamental grasses, baptisia, and astilbe.
- Remove weeds and debris from the flower beds before the ground freezes.
- Put garden ornaments and concrete ornaments in storage. If these are left out in the winter, they can potentially crack or peel due to the constant freezing and thawing.
- Cover compost piles with straw or a plastic sheet before the snow arrives.