Wednesday, October 26, 2011


With temperatures growing increasingly colder, and fall well under way, it's time to winterize your flower beds.  If you winterize annually, you'll just be giving your plants a big head start come springtime.  Fall is the perfect time to prune, divide, or transplant any plants that need it, as well as re-potting,  cleaning up beds, digging up and storing any plants that need over-wintering, or planting new fall bulbs that will flower in the spring.  Here are some of the steps I follow:

  • Since my outside water gets turned off every fall, I always make sure that right before it's turned off, I have watered the beds thoroughly.  If needed, I spot water with culinary water if I need to after the water has been turned off.
  • I make sure that the beds have a nice winter fertilizer on.  Nitrate is a suggested Winter fertilizer because it doesn't need a warm temperature to be released in the soil.  I compost in areas that need it, and I fill in the soil in any spots with top soil plus that need it due to settling, animals scratching it up, water washing it away, etc.
  • I make sure things are weed-free.  Keeping your beds weed free, even this time of year, ensures no weed seed germinate and start growing early spring, making your job much easier.
  • Remove any debris--dead branches, foliage, stems, etc.  This helps to prevent pests from hiding out in your flower beds.  It also cuts down on spreading disease.  Always throw your debris away--don't mulch it to spread any diseases through your beds.
  • Prune or trim and deadhead any fall blooming bushes, shrubs, plants, etc.  (Spring blooming trees and shrubs should have been pruned by now.  If you prune them now, you may lose your spring blooms.
  • Rake up any leaves.  Leaves on grass promote disease and uneven growth.  Too many leaves in the garden beds can actually suffocate the plants.  Some can be left there to insulate plants, but mulch, tree boughs or pine needles are better.  Remember to remove first thing in spring if you use leaves in your beds.  Some plants require a good winter mulch--I mulch any new plants, newly planted lily bulbs, my mums, and roses. 
My general way of thought is that the more you do now to prepare your beds for Winter, the healthier they will be in the spring, and, the easier you make it for yourself in spring clean up, which can be so time consuming if no preparations are made in fall.  As long as the soil can be worked, you can continue to work in the beds.  Once the ground is frozen, however, it is difficult to to do anything.  For this reason, now is the time to prepare!

Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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