An essential guide to fall gardening

September 29, 2014

You might think that your gardening duties end after the first frost, but there are still some important steps to take before winter comes. If you want your garden to be ready to go in the spring, complete this fall gardening checklist.

Pull old plants
If you leave the stalks of your summer plants in the ground, they'll likely mold under the snow and little critters will make a home in your garden. You can choose to till or hoe the garden, which will also break up the soil. However, if any of your plants have signs of disease, make sure you pull those up so the virus or fungus doesn't spread.

Plant spring bulbs
September and October are the ideal time to plant bulbs for spring flowers. Plants like daffodils and tulips need time in the cool ground to sprout correctly in the spring. You can also plant vegetables like garlic, mustard and turnips during the fall. If you're planning on planting new trees or shrubs, autumn is a great time. The ground stays warm for longer than the air, so bushes can build up a good root system during the fall. Then they'll be ready to sprout with fervor come spring.

Spread mulch
Putting a coat of mulch over your gardens and around your trees will help them to weather the winter. Spread approximately 2 inches of mulch over perennials and around the base of any new trees. This will insulate the plants from the cool weather and add organic matter to the ground.

Empty hoses and fountains
Finally, you'll want to make sure your hoses and fountains are drained of water. If they're wet during the winter, your tools will freeze and become damaged, especially if they get forgotten outside. Empty the water out of any hoses, fountains, bird baths and buckets and store the equipment in a dry indoor spot.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.