Pre-Winter Landscape Chores

Since the first frost and freeze has hit our region, there is still much to do in your landscape.

For example, gardeners with large mature trees need to rake the fallen leaves. What happens is that a thick layer of leaves left on the ground throughout the winter may smother and damage the turf grass underneath. Composting is an ideal way to dispose of these leaves. Leaves also can be shredded and applied as a mulch on flower and vegetable gardens. As for your garden, fall is an excellent time to clean and till this part of your landscape, especially if you are experiencing disease problems. Many plant diseases over winter in the garden on infected debris. Removing and destroying diseased plant material should reduce disease problems next year. Also, removing plant debris eliminates hiding places for some insects and helps control these especially in vegetable gardens.

One more thing about gardens whether its a flower or vegetable garden is to till the area in the fall like now which helps prevent the over wintering of many disease causing organisms and may destroy some insects. Additionally, a fall tilled garden dries out and warms up quicker in the spring permitting early planting of cool season crops especially. As for roses, you need to protect bush type roses or all roses for that matter by hilling or mounding soil around the plants base. Before placing soil around the rose, be sure to remove fallen leaves and other debris from the base of the rose plant itself. Also use twine to loosely tie the rose canes together which prevents the canes from being whipped excessively by strong winds.

The next step? Mound the soil 10-12 inches high around the canes. For additional protection, place straw or shredded leaves over the soil mound you just created. Don't forget to take a soil sample to have tested so that you know the soil that supports the rose has all the nutrients it needs.

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