Every fall season as plants start to die off, people ask me should I cut down the dead material or not? Well the answer is “both!” Hostas and other soft leaved plant material should be cleaned up and removed. Also any diseased leaves should be removed and put out with your green waste collection or buried in the ground (don’t put diseased material in your compost pile.) The plants that should be left untrimmed include those such as Purple Cone Flower which provide seed for the birds in your garden. The stems also help to gather snow around their bases protecting them from the cold.
Remember to store or turn over your concrete planters and birdbaths before it gets too cold. Water sitting in these containers can freeze and cause cracking. Also don’t leave concrete sitting on stone or concrete for the winter. Water will get underneath these items and freeze also causing cracking and splitting.
Rake up leaves and save for covering up your perennials. Wait until there has been a good frost and then the leaves can be raked over the plants that need it most. Also keep a bag of leaves next to your compost pile so you can continue to compost throughout the winter. Every time you put food scraps in the compost pile place a layer of leaves on top. This will create a good carbon-nitrogen ratio to get your compost cooking come spring time!
Fall is also a great time to plant trees. Drop by The Ecology Park to find some beautiful native trees to enhance your outdoor living space. Since the trees have no leaves at this time of year, and it’s not hot out, they’ll adapt much better to their new surroundings than they would on a hot summer day.
And the most important thing of all – get out and enjoy the fall season, the colours and fresh air. It may be your last chance for a while.