Now that September is close, it’s time to be thinking about cleaning up the garden.  Vegetables that have finished producing need to be pulled and put in the compost pile, the lawn needs readying for winter, perennials need to be cut back, and mulch applied.

Vegetable Gardens

It’s recommended that you remove all vegetable plants from your garden before snow falls.  As the plants die off with the first frost, they will start to decompose and can create great hiding places for pests and viruses that live in the soil and invade your new plants next year.

Clean up the beds, add a layer of compost, then either cover with a thick layer of straw or a ground cover like cereal rye grass (this dies off in the spring and ads nitrogen to the soil).

Lawns

Giving your lawn a little tender loving care now will pay rewards in a thick, green lawn next year.  Hot sun and inconsistent watering along with disease, insects and weeks can leave your lawn thin and patchy by September.  Roll out the spreader and add a layer of fertilizer.  Reseed any areas that are patchy, water it in well and you’ll have a fine lawn in the spring.

Perennials, Shrubs, and Trees

Perennial plants in your garden appreciate a haircut after they finish flowering and some will rebloom again after being cut back.  You may want to leave some seed heads standing for winter interest and bird food.  After perennial plants, shrubs and trees go dormant, it’s safe to do a light pruning to shape them if needed.

Mulch

Once you’ve done all the fall maintenance, apply a good 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch, remembering not to pile it up around the stems of plants or trees.  Mulch can be straw, aged wood chips, pine bark, nuggets, or you can mulch with compost.  This layer helps protect plant roots from the cold and freezing temperatures.

Hire A Professional

This all sounds like a lot of work and it is, but accomplishing these tasks will ensure you have a healthy lawn and garden next year.  You may decide that it is worth spending a little money rather than your time and labor by hiring a professional landscaping team.  They can come in and do all of the work for you and even plow snow from the driveway in winter.