Yardening: Time to mark year’s events in the garden | News

Shaniqua Juliano

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.  — Ralph Waldo Emerson Creek House notes As the growing season winds down it is worthwhile to spend some time to recall all the yard events that took place this year and how you handled them. In fact, it is a […]

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Creek House notes

As the growing season winds down it is worthwhile to spend some time to recall all the yard events that took place this year and how you handled them. In fact, it is a great time to record your recollections on a 2020 calendar, in a notebook or on the computer.

Inevitably at some point you will wish you could remember when a certain tree died, or you had the lawn renovated, or what storm damage repair cost. If you planted some trees or landscape plants you may want to record their names and date of planting. You also may find it helpful to jot down any equipment that you purchased or had repaired, the names of products you used in the yard for pest control, plant fertilization or cleaning outdoor furniture. I, for one, am definitely going to record when the Spotted lanternflies arrived.  Whether it is the insurance agent, the tax accountant, household management or just the family history, you may find it helpful to have this info on record.

Fall To Do list:

Repot houseplants and begin to welcome them back indoors.

Drain hoses and store.

Cover pools to prevent falling leaves from fouling water.

Plant spring blooming bulbs

Move firewood closer to the house; oldest available first.

Bring in pots and ornaments that may crack in frost.

Wash birdfeeders before filling and hanging them outdoors.

Clean and cover or store outdoor furniture

Drain gas from the lawnmower and other summer equipment.

Cover bare soil on the property with chopped leaves or pine needles.

Clean gutters after leaf fall is over.

Seal cracks in foundation and basement windows to block draft and mice.

Fertilize lawn with a fall/winter slow acting fertilizer to promote root development.

Dig and divide and replant daylilies, peonies, and hostas.

Leave existing plants to cover the soil until spring.


There is frost and then there is FROST.  Traditionally in our region the first expected frost date is on or about Oct. 20.  This is when temps may dip to 32 degrees and cause a light dusting of frost. It does not harm roots or foliage of most established hardy plants. It may slightly brown tender annuals such as impatiens. Be prepared for a hard, or killing frost to arrive in late November. Temps may dip to 25 degrees. Or….they may wait until January. Last year the ground never froze hard. Bottom line?  Predictions are difficult. Prepare for cold and let’s see what happens.

Love your leaves

Meanwhile, it is likely that by now many, even most, of your deciduous trees are losing their leaves. (native trees shed earlier than non-native ones) Some folks consider managing the fallen leaves to be a real pain. I mourn when I hear occasionally that someone cut down a perfectly gorgeous tree because the fallen leaves every autumn were an inconvenience. In fact, they are a real gift to your yard and the creatures who live there—including you! They encourage healthy outdoor activity. Mow the lawn when the leaves have fallen on it to shred them into small pieces. Raking them up after mowing provides exercise and time for contemplation and appreciation. Discovery. Use the leaves as mulch for planted beds in winter to insulate soil from extreme freeze/thaw and protect perennial plants. In warm seasons a fresh layer of these dried leaves discourages weeds around the perennials as they emerge for the growing season.  Also spread some under trees where turfgrass can’t grow because of the shade. Three inches system spread out several feet under branch canopy discourages weeds too. Of course, a pile of leaves out of sight provides shelter for all kinds of wildlife.

© Liz Ball 2020

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