Plant Bulbs for Spring
Now is the perfect time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. After a long, cold winter, you will be rewarded with colorful blooms that signal spring. You want to plant spring-blooming bulbs about 6 weeks before the ground freezes, when nightly temperatures are dipping into the 50’s or 60’s. Tulips, crocus, and daffodils do well in Indiana.
Dig Up Fragile Bulbs to Store for the Winter
Some plants grow well in Indiana’s hot, humid summers, but are too fragile to survive our cold winter. Dahlias, caladium, canna, elephant ear, gladiolas and certain types of begonias should be gently dug up and stored for the winter. Store bulbs in a cool, dry, frost-free place like a bucket or box in your garage that contains some peat moss. Bulbs can be planted again in the spring.
Remove Weeds from your Garden and Flower Beds
Any time you spend on weed removal and control now will decrease the amount of weeds you have in the spring. So, get to pulling and spraying!
Harden Off Your Roses
Some types of roses require a little more protection during the harsh winter months. The process, known as “hardening off,” involves:
1) Stop fertilizing the plants 6 weeks before the first freeze.
2) Let dead flowers go to seed.
3) When frost becomes a threat, cover the base of the plants with an extra thick layer of top soil.
4) After the ground is completely frozen, cover the base of the plant with a thick layer of mulch.
If the fall season is particularly dry, be sure to water the plant well in advance of the first freeze and mulch application. In the spring, as temperatures get warmer, you can gradually remove the layers.
Revitalize Perennials by Dividing Them
Some perennials become less productive and fail to thrive when they get too big and full. Cooler temperatures provide perfect conditions for dividing these plants while still giving them time to put down new roots before winter. Dig up the plants at the drop line and slice down through the center. If you want, you can do this one more time, essentially quartering the plant. Dig them up at the drip line, slice down through the center and then quarter the clump, if you wish. When you replant the divided starts, giving them plenty of room to spread out. Keep them watered, but don’t drown them. Divided plants make wonderful gifts for friends and neighbors, too. Plants that bloom in late summer or autumn should be divided in the spring.
Plant Trees and Shrubs
Fall is actually an ideal time to plant new trees and shrubs. When planted in the spring, trees and shrubs have to face the hot, dry conditions of summer before they have adequately taken root. This often results in less than spectacular results. Fall, on the other hand, provides more mild conditions, allowing the trees and shrubs to form deep, strong roots. Do your research or talk to a professional at your local nursery for advice on the best trees and shrubs to plant on your own property in the fall.
Prepare for Spring by Enriching the Soil
Have you been making wonderful compost to use in your garden and flower beds? Autumn is the perfect time to lay down a healthy dose of nutrient-rich compost to prepare the soil for spring plantings. Alternatively, you could use grass clippings combined with some dead leaves or purchase some sweet peat from your local garden store. After the first heavy frost but before the first hard freeze, mix the compost into the soil.
Adding a layer of mulch around the base of plants may extend the growing season as temperatures get cooler and cooler at night. A good layer of straw, hay, grass clippings, leaves, pine needles, or garden mulch can protect plants from being damaged by the freeze thaw cycle that is common as we get into the fall weather cycle.
Fertilize, Aerate, & Repair Your Lawn
Autumn is a prime time to fertilize your lawn. Application in mid to late September will equip the lawn with essential nutrients and help it grow in thick and lush in the spring. Talk to professionals at your local lawn care center for advice on the proper formula for your grass and conditions.
Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. Tools to do this process yourself are available for rent at most lawn and garden centers. Consider splitting the cost with a neighbor and doing both yards in a day. Alternatively, this is a service provided by most lawn care companies if you prefer not to do it yourself.
Autumn is also an ideal time to repair a damaged lawn and reseed. Perennial ryegrass germinates quickly, in just four to seven days, allowing it to establish before the ground freezes. Top-dressing the seed with up to 1/4″ compost or soil helps the seeds take root.
Clean Out Flower Beds
Now is a good time to remove from your flower beds annuals or plants that just haven’t thrived. Some plants, like ornamental grasses, can still look beautiful throughout the winter, so you may choose to leave them. A little work now will help prepare for the new plantings in the spring.
Find Your Rake
Act now on this list because before you know it, the leaves will start falling and it will be all you can do to keep up with them! Check and make sure your rake is in good condition and if necessary, purchase a new one before everyone races to the hardware store. It may be a good time to invest in one rakes of the newer, more ergonomically correct designs. Your back may thank you!
Or Let Us Do the Work
If you are someone who would rather leave the lawn and landscaping duties up to someone else. that is also an option. Or, maybe you are a property manager or HOA President who is responsible for more space than you can handle on your own. If for any reason, you are looking to the pros for help, Contact Landscape Solutions. We’d love to talk to you about our services and provide a quote for your property.
As summer comes to a conclusion and the fall season is upon us, don’t take your foot off the gas in your lawn and landscaping duties. Before long, you’ll be looking out the window at the snow-covered tundra and wishing you could get outside and get dirty.