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Warm weather rains that abruptly switch to biting cold will challenge the perennials, trees and shrubs.

Lawns

  • As it warms up outdoors, keep off soft, soggy lawns or else you’ll compact the soil –making growth harder for grass seed and easier for weed seeds!

Perennial gardens

  • After the ground re-freezes, gently push any heaved fall-planted perennials back down.
  • Keep May & June flowering perennials covered with winter mulch until mid April.

Shrubs and young trees

  • On the next dry day with temperatures above 40 degrees F, apply animal repellents on evergreens and around the base stems of your most-prized ornamental plants. Voles, rabbits and deer are still doing damage.

Indoors

  • Feed your houseplants “weakly”. Use half-strength to quarter-strength fertilizer. Plants indoors will start to react to longer days and may put out new growth. Pinch this growth back to prevent long “legs” and to make a bushier plant. You’ll want to continue this practice until at least April.

What to prune now

  • Prune grape vines and blue berries.
  • Prune dead, diseased and injured wood from trees and shrubs. Don’t go overboard on your flowering shrubs or you’ll cut off the spring blooms!
  • Prune fruit trees by 1/3 to reduce too much fruit and increase fruit size.
  • Wait to prune roses, Russian sage or butterfly bush until you see leaf buds starting to swell and break dormancy.

Preventative spraying of fruit trees

  • After pruning and before buds open, use horticultural oil at dormant rates on fruiting trees to reduce pests. Spray when temperatures are above 40 degrees with no wind so oil has time to dry.  Plan to spray again just after petal drop.

Start Seeds

  • Now’s the time to plan your seed-starting regime. Start those seeds that need longer germination time first (like onion or celery). Don’t plan to plant outdoors until about May 20 – 25th.
  • Before re-using seed-starting supplies, wash and sterilize with a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water.

Your Garden in the Fall

Still-warm soil and relatively cool air temperatures promote healthy root growth in plants that return each year. Check out our Fall gardening tips.

Fall Articles

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