Use autumn to prepare your garden for spring

Garden. autumn

Are you worried that your garden might not survive the winter? Before the weather turns nasty, you can take care of a few autumn chores to protect sensitive plants and prepare for spring. After months of lockdown, the last place we want to be is indoors, but winter is imminent. So, for the next few months, the fireplace might be more attractive than the garden.

Start with the grass in your garden

Reseeding and fertilizing your lawn now will cut back on its upkeep in spring. Check that your fertilizer has potassium and nitrogen in balanced amounts. If it contains extra phosphorus, it will strengthen the grassroots. Rake the surface of any bald spots and sprinkle some seeds. Next, cover the lawn with compost and water it well. If you do this soon, you’ll be able to mow the lawn one last time before winter sets in. If it’s left too long, frost damage may occur. Most importantly, leave the grass clippings to decompose on the lawn to add nutrients.

Garden, leaves
Autumn leaves blanket

Leave fallen leaves to form a blanket for your garden

I have often heard people complaining about the work that it takes to rake up fallen autumn leaves. Relax and leave them be! They can serve as a blanket to protect flowerbeds and the roots of shrubs. You can add some leaves to your compost heap to enrich next spring’s fertilizer. Spread four to six inches of mulch to protect the roots of plants as soon as the ground freezes. However, if any of the leaves have yellow or black spots, it might be a fungal infection that you would not want to spread. Preventing the infection from spreading should be the only reason to rake them all up.

Don’t let weeds settle in your garden

Yes, I know it’s a big job, but removing weeds now will save you even more work come springtime. If you leave them, it will allow them to spread seeds and multiply through winter. Ensure you also remove weeds under trees and shrubs.

Autumn flowers

Hold back on cutting and pruning

Don’t cut back everything in your garden. Leave perennials to add color and attract birds. Only remove mushy brown leaves, prune back climbers and protect sensitive plants like rose bushes with mulch. In a similar vein, hold back on pruning and fertilizing trees and shrubs. This will prevent frost damage to sensitive new growth. However, what you can do is remove damaged or dead branches.

All done? Now you can curl up in a cozy corner in front of the fireplace and wait for spring.

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