Eau Claire (NANCY SKELLEY) — Nancy Skelley joined Daybreak this morning talking tips to get your lawn and gardens ready for fall and winter!
Here are some tips she shared:
* Water recently planted trees, shrubs and perennials regularly until the ground freezes. (Closer to Thanksgiving than Halloween!) This ensures that they have enough moisture in their systems to overwinter well. Wrap the trunks of young trees using a paper or fiber wrap wound tightly around the trunk of the tree then secured with tape. This will keep unwanted pests from munching on the bark over the winter. Tree guard tubes are helpful, but mice and small rodents can get between them and the tree and chew, so I recommend paper wrap instead.
* Cut back self- seeding perennials. I usually recommend waiting until spring to cut most perennials. The plant dying on top of itself actually serves to protect the crown and root system over the winter. However, plants such as Monarda (bee balm) and Black eyed Susan can self seed all over the garden if not cut back at least partially. Once the perennial garden is cleaned up, fall is a perfect time to weed and then mulch for good winter protection. When cutting back, be sure to dispose of any diseased foliage, do not compost diseased material. If you are unsure whether or not to cut something back, err on the side of waiting until spring.
* Divide spring blooming perennials. Leave fall blooming perennials until spring.
* Fertilize the lawn. Fall fertilizer can be applied anytime from September through November.
* Lower your mower cutting height slightly. I recommend a half notch rather than a full notch. Lowering mower height a little helps the lawn dry out more quickly in spring. Lowering it a lot can encourage rodent damage and leave the lawn open to more winter damage. Leaving it too long can increase snow mold in the lawn.
* Prepare plants to come indoors several weeks before actually bringing them in. Clean up any dead foliage. Treat ornamental plants with a systemic insecticide or spray and bag them overnight before bringing in to avoid bringing outside bugs in. Edible plants like herbs can be hosed off vigorously and shaken, then watch for insects when you bring them in.