By Jason Rathe
Leaves can provide additional winter protection for the garden
Customers often ask us when they should do garden cut-backs and general clean-up – spring or fall? Well… there are compelling reasons on both sides.
The arguments for spring clean-up:
* Many perennial garden plants offer structure and interest in the winter – especially ornamental grasses and plants with dark seed heads like black eyed-susan.
* Insects use the plant stalks and stems for habitat in the winter and early spring.
* Birds eat the dried seeds from plants like echinacea and black-eyed susan.
* The leaf-litter left on the beds provides insulation for the plants and the stems give plenty of nooks and crannies for the leaves to get caught it.
* Plants seem to overwinter more successfully with the stems on. Having cut stems close to the crown can lead to more drying out (this is probably really minimal).
On the other hand fall is a good time for clean-up, because…
Cleaning up fall leaves can make cleaning up around spring bulbs much easier
* Let’s face it, there is something really great about being outside in the fall doing work.
* It is easier to do the work in the fall when things are dried rather than in the spring when everything is mushy and soggy.
* If you have bulbs coming up, it is nice to not have to do a lot of work around them.
* Come spring you are really happy you don’t have all that work left to do.
In the end, if you have the time it is probably best to do a little bit of both. In the fall, clean-up anything mushy, mangly, and unsightly, but leave up the grasses and plants with structure or seed heads. Be sure to clean-out areas where bulbs will come up so that doesn’t need to be done in the spring. And in the spring clean-up the rest.
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Running a thin stream of water from the hose is a good way to water new trees
The calendar has turned to September and the air is getting cooler. It’s easy to think that your “work” in the garden is done but don’t put those hoses away yet!!! Providing adequate water into the fall is a critical piece in assisting plants to prepare for our tough, Minnesota winters. Continuing to water until the ground freezes increases plant survival as well as improving year round plant health. Although Mother Nature often helps us out with rain in the fall, sometimes you will need to do a little supplementing to ensuring that your plants get 1-1.5 inches of water every seven to ten days. With that said, it’s important not to over water. Over watering can cause plants to send out new growth resulting in tissue that won’t be hardened off for winter. It also can simply result in too much moisture in the ground, causing the roots to rot. This is especially true in heavy, clay soils.
All of the plants in your landscape will benefit from fall watering, but it is especially beneficial to evergreens as well as trees and shrubs planted with in the last five years. Because plant roots cannot extract water from the frozen soil, helping them to be retain moisture in the fall will help prepare them to survive whatever Old Man Winter throws their way! So keep an eye on the weather and make sure your landscape gets that 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Next season your plants will thank you for it.
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Bring in Fall with colorful annuals!
The calendar has turned once again and we at Field are ready to welcome the change of seasons and cooler weather. It’s time to pluck those tired annuals out of their summer containers and window boxes and add some new life to those same containers. Showcase Fall with a gorgeous combination of mums, asters, grasses, gourds, and maybe even a few “surprises” thrown in. Our talented Fieldcare team loves to play with color and texture and can’t wait to help you bring in the new season!
Please contact Carolyn for an individualized price quote. We will be planting fall containers the week of September 12th and you don’t want to miss out!
1209 Tyler St NE, Suite 250
Minneapolis, MN 55413
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