Many of these tasks are actually better done in autumn than in spring. Here’s what a group of motivated gardeners has to say about essential autumn gardening chores on #groundchat, a weekly tweet chat.
Reseeding and aerate the lawn.
“Fall is the best time to core aerate your soil, helps lawn roots,” says Mike Caprio, Senior Equipment Specialist at Lawn Doctor
“Fall reseeding gives turf time to establish roots before winter and survive the following summer,” declares Mike.
Plant bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs while soil temperatures are above 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).
“Fall is an ideal time to plant bare-root fruit trees — dormant trees suffer less transplant shock,” says Sarah DePass, Social Representative at Stark Bros Nurseries & Orchards
And you will great prices at local garden centres as they get rid of their inventory before winter sets in. The downside is less choice in what you can buy.
Build up soil
Fall is the best time to prepare new garden beds and amend existing ones.
“Always test your soil first before you add amendments, especially amendments that change soil pH. The soil might not need it,” says Cristina da Silva, garden writer and horticulturist.
Improve soil structure & fertility
Plant cover crops (buckwheat, rye, peas, alfalfa, clover).
“This is a good time to do soil amendments. Sow a cover crop. Depending on your USDA zone,” says Jeavonna Chapman, an avid gardener from Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Cover crops are a great way to prevent erosion, prevent weed growth and build the soil.
Manure & compost
“Many gardeners prefer using sheep manure over cow manure because sheep manure contains fewer weed seeds,” says Cristina da Silva
Some gardeners find manure too strong and opt to use compost instead.
“Did I tell you the many ways I love mulch in winter? Mulch moderates soil temps. Prevents root damage: freezing and upheaval,” says Cristina da Silva.
“Mulch is a great secret weapon against elements in fall. Too much can become a habitat for bark-eating rodents,” says Sarah DePass.
Add 3-4 in. of mulch around trees and shrubs. Keep 6 in. away from the trunk. Top up mulch (to 2 or 3 in.) on perennial garden beds.
Compost & mulch shredded fall leaves. Shredded leaves decompose easier and won’t mat!
“Composting recycles nutrients and helps keep leaves out of streets and storm sewers,” says The Grounds Crew, in Washington State, USA
“Since frost is still weeks away, I have time to divide perennials,” says Maggie Lawrence, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Add more plants to your garden without added expense: Divide perennials Collect seeds from annuals.
Other Autumn tasks
Keep watering shrubs & trees. Hydrated plants survive frost, freeze and thaw events far better than water-stressed plants. Bring potted tropical plants indoors. And lastly, there are certain gardening tasks we shouldn’t do.
Don’t cut back perennials
Many perennials survive winter better if they are left intact over the winter. Not only do you get to enjoy their silhouettes during winter, but the seedheads also provide much-needed food for overwintering birds.
“It is great to leave some seed pods on plants, so the birds have food for the winter!” says Yolanda Vanveen, Chief Media Officer of How to Garden Videos. http://www.howtogardenvideos.com/