This article is by Home Depot

 

Put the Landscape Tools to Bed

Proper cleaning and storage of lawn and garden tools, sprinklers and hoses will prolong their life and make yours easier come spring. Don’t forget to empty and clean irrigation lines so they don’t freeze and damage pipes.

 

No Clean Up Fall Clean-Up

Fall is a busy time, and you may not get around to every chore. Weekends quickly fill up with sports, activities and errands. And beautiful fall weather means road trips for fall leaf peeping. If you don’t get around to all the fall chores, take heart, the No Clean Up Fall Clean-Up is a beneficial practice. Sometimes, waiting until late winter or early spring is better for tidying up your landscape.

For example, when perennials drop their leaves and die back, don’t rush in to prune back the bare stalks. Decaying brush provides perching places for birds and nooks for beneficial insects to lay their eggs. So clean and store your tools, keep the homeowner’s association happy with leaf removal, but consider ways to keep your landscape more natural for winter wildlife.

Divide Perennials

Now is the time to divide perennials like hostas, heucheras and daylilies. Wait until after a rain, when the soil is workable, and use a garden fork and spade to split plants and replant them. Learn how to divide perennials.

Tip: A sturdy serrated bread knife makes easy work of slicing into tough plants. Buy an inexpensive one just for garden use.

It’s also time to prune perennials, but you can skip the fertilizer. Perennials will benefit from a top dressing of compost and a blanket of mulch and, in fact, may thrive to the point where you won’t need fertilizer in the spring. Adding fertilizer in fall will just encourage growth that will be nipped by bitter winter weather.

Shrubs and trees, though, still benefit from a shot of fertilizer and pruning. Dispense fertilizer lightly and late in fall by using a slow release product at less than the recommended rate on the package. Shape up trees and shrubs by trimming back dead branches.

 

Think Spring

You can get a jump on spring blooms when you prepare a flower bed with seeds that will overwinter. Try calendula, cornflowers, cosmos and bachelor buttons, individually or in a seed mix.

 

Bring Tropicals Inside

Bring tropicals and houseplants inside. It’s the end of summer vacation for the tropical houseplants you put outside in June. To lessen the shock of a move, first move the plants to a sheltered porch that gets less sun than they’re used to. Let them stay there for about two weeks, then bring them inside. The plants will produce new leaves to replace the dropped ones, once they’ve adjusted.

Make the transition slow and gradual, and your green friends will settle in nicely for the fall and winter. Aim to make the move before the thermometer dips to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and no lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Dig Up and Store Tender Bulbs

Get more life from tender bulbs like dahlias, caladiums and cannas when you dig them up in fall. Set the bulbs and tubers on a tray to dry for a few days, brush off the dirt and nestle in boxes lined with peat moss. Bring the boxes inside and store in a cool, dry place until early spring when they can be planted again.

 

Refresh Containers and Window Boxes

Take a fresh look at your containers (window boxes, too) and make plans for cool weather designs with fall flowers and foliage. While most annuals will last until first frost, they can get leggy and played out. Before you make the big switch, freshen your summer annuals for a few more weeks, especially if the weather is still hot and you’re a few months away from the first frost. Try trimming leggy stems with pruning snips and giving plants a dose of a plant fertilizer to revive them.

Take cuttings from annuals like coleus and bring inside to overwinter in water or potting soil. You can dig up herbs like parsley, rosemary, chives and thyme for overwintering indoors, too. Just plant in pots and place in the kitchen windowsill.

The cooler days of fall signal the time to clean up the yard and vegetable garden and prepare for winter. Outside your home, the obvious task is to rake leaves off the lawn, and clean them out of gutters. With kids around, raking leaves can be an all-hands-on-deck activity, but it’s not the only group task. There’s plenty of work to be done to prepare for winter.

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