When the leaves change and the kids are back in school, it’s time to divide, plant, and improve your soil!
PLANTING & DIVIDING
Be sure to plant your mums, asters, and other perennials asap; they need at least 6 weeks before the ground freezes to establish their roots. Protect your investment and keep watering any new plantings through the Fall.
Are your plants outgrowing their beds? Expanding beyond their space and into your lawn or walkways? It’s time to start dividing! Dividing your plants also allows you to start new beds and fill in bare spaces on your property by planting them elsewhere. Common perennials to divide every 3-5 years include hostas, day lilies, black-eyed susans, bee balm, and irises. See Van Berkum Nursery’s list for more perennials that should be divided.
When cleaning your beds and removing unsightly foliage in the gardens, leaving some seed heads, like Echinacea and Rudbeckia, will beckon winter birds to feed.
2. TREES & SHRUBS
Go ahead and plant new shrubs and trees, including evergreens. Again, make sure you give your new plantings 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Keep in mind though that you must continue watering new plantings through the Fall.
Plant bulbs like lilies and other spring flowering bulbs. Apply a bulb fertilizer to the planting hole as recommended.
Improve your soil
Now is the ideal time to seed new lawns or reseed patchy spots and put down compost. If you’re soil’s been compacted due to poor drainage in certain spots, you should consider core aeration as well. You’ll be rewarded with new growth and increased root development in the Spring. Organic lawns, in particular, benefit from core aeration, which improves oxygen flow in soil.
As your harvest thins out, don’t abandon your beds! Clear them and add leaves and compost to decompose through the winter and nourish the soil.