By Librarian Nicholas Saturno
For the home garden:
Before the temperature drops below freezing, you can easily prepare your garden for the fall! While it is still warm and the soil is workable, remove weeds, dead plants, and lawn debris from your garden. Then, harvest any remaining crops, add some compost, cow manure, peat moss, and fresh soil. Then till your soil, and cover with mulch. To prepare for the cold, cover perennials with mulch, bring sensitive plants indoors, and cover your compost bin. With a little bit of maintenance, your garden will easily be ready for the next season.
Landscaping around property:
For landscaping around yard depending on what type of trees and bushes you have, for example Crepe Myrtles, English Laurel, Magnolias (Royal Star, Yellow Bird, Jane, or Yellow Lantern). You want to fertilize with organic matter such as compost, composted manure and sphagnum peat moss into the planting site to improve soil tilth (physical condition of soil) and drainage. Typically, any all-purpose formula suffices, such as 10-10-10 with micro-nutrients. Since magnolia trees also grow best in acidic soils, often an acid-forming fertilizer (Holly-tone) is used. Please keep in mind, do not fertilize any tree or bush first season in ground. Roots should be established before fertilizing. For perennials (Black Eyed Susan, Purple Cone Flower, Sedums, Ornamental Grasses, Salvia, and Gay Feather) to name a few, I follow the following process. Wait until late fall before you cut back all the perennials down to the ground. Your backyard bird friends will eat the dried out flowers and seeds on all the perennials. This will help sustain the birds thru the winter months. Once the birds have eaten all the flowers and seeds you can proceed to cut down perennials to the ground. For extra protection during the cold winter months, put down a couple of inches of mulch on top of the perennials.
Please follow links below for resources to prepare garden for winter and general landscaping around property.