Fall gardeningOctober 26, 2018
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As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, gardens start to change. Here are some tips for keeping your garden looking great until winter and helping it rebound nicely come spring.
Bring tropical plants inside
Bring your tropical plants—hibiscus, palm trees, banana trees, etc.—back into the warmth of your home before overnight temperatures drop below 10°C. Temperatures between 5°C and 10°C won’t kill them, but will cause the foliage to yellow more drastically once you move the plants inside. Wash the leaves with water and black soap to remove any insects that may have taken up residence.
Prepare for next year
Root growth is strong during fall, so it’s a great time to divide most perennials and transplant shrubs. If you don’t wait too long they’ll have plenty of time to take root before the ground freezes.
The organic matter in your soil must be replenished constantly, so if you don’t let the leaves decompose in your garden, you’ll need to add compost to rejuvenate the soil in your flowerbeds.
Dig up tender bulbs
Bulbs, corms, and rhizomes of dahlias, gladioli, begonias, and other non-rustic species can tolerate a mild frost, but if the cold weather is slow to arrive, dig them up in early October on a nice, sunny day and shake off the excess soil. Cure them in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated place for ten days. When the foliage is dry, cut it off and remove any remaining soil from the bulbs. Store them in wooden boxes, paper bags, or mesh bags in a dark, cool, and dry place that won’t freeze.
Plant perennial bulbs
You can already start preparing for spring by planting tulips, narcissus, and a host of other bulbs. Wait until the daytime temperature drops to around 10°C. Store them in a cool, dark place until the conditions are right.
Better safe than sorry
Some shrubs tend to separate under the weight of large snowbanks. Tie them up with string, but don’t overtighten. If the only way to protect them is to build a wooden structure that spoils your home’s curb appeal, consider replacing them with a stronger perennial or woody plant that won’t require support. After all, your garden should look good in winter too!