The telltale signs are here. First comes football season. Then the weather is absurdly amazing (we can dream that every autumn always starts out beautiful). Leaves start to fall. It is nearly time to give our landscape beds some attention.
After several hard frosts:
-Cut perennials back to soil level and remove debris.
-Consider which plants performed well and which did not. Make a note of any changes to be made it the spring.
-Remove debris from any annual plantings in the landscape.
-If we have a fall with limited rainfall, give the landscape a deep soak to prevent stress on the plants as they go into winter.
-Add a one inch layer of mulch to help conserve soil moisture and protect the root systems, especially for newly planted landscapes.
Removing debris such as leaves and other dead plant material from the landscape will prevent the spread of certain fungi that can overwinter on dead plant material and then continue to spread and infect new leaf tissue during the following spring. Taking the extra step to remove debris will also eliminate potential nesting areas created by unwanted critters.
You may want to consider leaving ornamental grass, coneflower, and black-eyed susan in the landscape over the winter months. Not only do they add structure and interest to the winter landscape, but they are also a food source for some native birds. If you decide to wait until spring to cut these perennials back, this should be done no later than mid- May to allow for the new growth to emerge.
Enjoy the Fall!
Rachael and Tobias