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September 2014

Preparing your yard for Fall

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Readying your yard for autumn can be just as challenging and labor intensive. However, if you start early and create a checklist you will likely have everything done in time for Christmas (I’m kidding). In all seriousness, creating a master plan will go a long way in helping you accomplish the following tasks:

Fall Pruning

Fall’s cool weather provides the ideal climate to get outside and prune those woody plants. However, don’t get overzealous—experts say you should avoid pruning spring flowering shrubs in the fall so you don’t remove flower buds set earlier in the year. If you don’t think you need to prune… think again. Pruning is beneficial for several reasons:

· To remove dead or damaged branches.

· To reshape overgrown plants.

· To rejuvenate old branches.

· To remove diseased branches.

· To improve the plant’s overall appearance and health.

Here are some pruning tips that have served me well over the years:

· Never try to cut more wood than your clippers are designed to cut.

· Use a small saw to remove medium sized or larger branches.

· Use hand clippers to cut small stems and twigs.

· Never cut a branch flush with the main stem.

· Never leave a stud, which can provide an opening for wood decay.

Bring Those Plants In!

Our local weather forecasts have been peppered with warnings to “bring those plants in.” The time to bring them in is when the night temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Before bringing plants in it is a good idea to inspect them. Make sure you’re not brining in insects or eggs. If you are concerned about doing so you could spray your plants with a 1% horticultural oil solution.

Fall Planting

In my opinion, one of the most important yard projects a homeowner should tackle each fall is planting perennials. If you’ve got existing perennials, you can separate them into smaller plants. By doing so you give your plants a better chance to grow. If you have done this before you know perennials prosper in less crowded conditions and insects and disease problems will be minimized. Another tip: add compost to the soil while you’re replanting for extra growing power in the spring.

Get Rid of Weeds

This is an ongoing project that needs attention year round, but experts say in the fall it is especially important. If you apply an herbicide to weeds, it will be carried to the roots and help to control them. The reason: plants move carbohydrates from their leaves to the roots in cooler weather.