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An essential task during the fall (along with sipping on your favorite seasonal beverage) is to plant and prune your trees and shrubs correctly. For healthier, more beautiful landscaping next year, here’s some suggestions for what you should tackle this autumn season.
With a change in temperatures, you can certainly expect a change in tree and shrub maintenance as well. In fact, this season is an ideal time to prepare your landscape for harsh winter months and create an optimal rebirthing season in the spring.
It’s important that a plant receives adequate water especially for the first year after it’s planted. Fortunately, fall in Ohio generally brings rainy and cool weather, and that should provide enough moisture for your new plants. If we do experience a warmer and drier fall than normal, you may need to supplement with extra watering. Just make sure not to oversaturate the ground around the plant.
Trimming trees is an essential and beneficial part of fall yard work. However, it’s important to know what kind of plant you have before trimming. Some plants, especially certain types of hydrangeas, bloom on “old wood”. If you cut the old stems on these plants you will have limited or no blooms the next year. You can research the type of plant you have online to see if it blooms on old or new wood. If you’re unsure, don’t trim at all and check next spring to see if the blooms grow on “old wood” or “new wood”. Be sure to prune any dead or diseased branches and twigs from trees and shrubs early in the fall season. Heavy winds could cause these broken and unhealthy pieces to break and fall, which is unsafe for you and your home.
Trimming also helps with influencing the shape and health of your trees and shrubs in the future. Following the proper trimming techniques will provide unique and aesthetic shaping to your plants, allowing your plants to look better in the coming seasons, and producing more beautiful flowers and luscious fruit over time.
The fall season is the best time for mulching because fresh mulch protects your soil and helps slow the process of freezing and thawing that occurs during winter. Plus, you surely don’t want to mulch after the ground freezes!
At Kurtz Bros., we offer a variety of top-of-the-line mulches that will be nutritious and beneficial for your plants this fall. After purchasing the type of mulch that best suits your needs, you will need to place 1-2 inches of mulch around your shrubbery and tree trunks. This same process should be done each fall.
Keep the mulch an inch or so away from the roots and tree trunks to avoid rotting. It is acceptable for mulch to be placed on top of fallen leaves as they can be a supplemental fertilizer for your plants!
Unfortunately, we all know that fall requires lots of clean-ups. As leaves fall rapidly during this season, keeping up with cleaning the yard can be daunting, but it is definitely a necessary step.
Raking leaves to keep your yard clear is important in keeping grass healthy and avoiding any mold from rain or snow. Raking leaves onto a plastic tarp can make for easier cleanup and investing in a leaf blower might be helpful if you live in an area with numerous trees.
Fallen leaves and branches can also gather in gutters. Be sure to thoroughly clear out your gutters throughout the fall season to avoid clogs and backups.
You also want to remove any leaves or branches from shrubs and plant beds. Keep these as clear as possible as you prepare for the cold winter months. You don’t want your plants to develop any diseases due to mold or excessive leaf build-up.
Another optional practice for fall yard work is the need to protect some of your trees and shrubs. While this step is often overlooked, it can certainly be critical in some cases.
Tree wrapping is one practice. You can purchase a tree wrap, which is a long, thin piece of material meant to be wrapped around the trunk of your tree to protect against the hazards of winter. This is an especially good option for young, thin-bark trees. This wrap should be kept around your tree from mid-end of November to mid-March.
Protecting your trees and shrubs from critters is also a wise practice. If a variety of wintery rodents frequent your yard, consider adding a barrier a few feet away from the trunk or root of your plants. You can create these barriers from mesh, tree wrap material, or chicken wire. Be sure to remove these barriers come early spring.
Finally, protecting evergreens and delicate shrubbery from bitter winds and temperatures is another optional yet effective practice. Burlap screenings are ideal for this type of protection.
If you’d like a little more information about fall yard work recommendations, check out our previous blog, Preparing Your Lawn & Garden for Cooler Months.
A common misconception is that spring is always the best time for new plantings. Surprisingly, the fall season can actually be a perfect time! While some plants are better for spring planting, there are certainly a number of trees and shrubs that thrive best when planted in early fall. Evergreens, for instance, should be planted in the fall – after the extreme heat of summer and before the frozen ground of winter.
Trees and shrubs planted during this time of year allow strong roots to form. These strong roots will gain strength in the cool, moist soil during the dormant winter and be ready to bloom beautifully when warm spring weather arrives.
Are you thinking about planting new trees and shrubs for your landscape? Now may be the time! We are very proud of our nursery at Kurtz Bros. Click here for more information about the beautiful plants we can offer you.