Fall is the time to prepare your beds for the coming seasons through careful maintenance, from leaf and weed removal to final applications of mulch. Here are some tips from the gardening experts at our garden supply store in NJ to help you along.
1. When will the frost arrive?
Winter means different things in different parts of the country. The USDA maintains an online map of the country’s “plant hardiness zone. It lets gardeners see which plants are most likely to thrive based on their region’s annual average minimum temperature. It’s also a good idea to consult your local agricultural extension office to find out when the season’s first and last frosts are expected.
2. You’ve got to hide your bulbs away
Dig up any bulbs you’re worried won’t survive the winter. Let them dry out by wrapping them in newspaper, and then cover them in sand or sawdust inside a container until it’s time to replant. If you have bulbs left in the ground, help them out before a hard freeze by adding another layer of mulch.
3. Clean up your garden
By the time falls comes around, your garden has accumulated spent stalks and other debris. Cut it out or dig it out before it gets a chance to become a place for pests and disease to hang out during the winter. And when you get rid of dead/dying plant life in the fall, your garden will look clean through the winter and you’ll have less work to do in the spring.
4. Get rid of weeds and other unwanted plants
Be careful with invasive plants. Make sure they go in the garbage, and not your compost pile. The same goes for any plants suffering from disease or pest infestation.
5. Add compost to your beds
A thick layer of compost – maybe three or four inches – can help your beds during the winter. How? When it rains during the winter, nutrients from the compost will leach into the soil. When spring comes, you can mix what’s left over into your soil.
6. Protect new perennials with mulch
Newly-planted perennials often don’t have time to develop deep roots. You can protect them by adding a layer of mulch when the ground begins to freeze. This mulch will keep the ground cold until spring, and prevent the soil from shifting – and uprooting your plants – as it thaws and freezes throughout the winter. Add more mulch in January or February if necessary. Winter winds may have blown away your original mulch layer. We offer mulch in bags, or you can take advantage of our mulch delivery in New Jersey at our Annandale location.
7. Care for your trees
Evergreen trees need some pre-winter hydration if you’re experiencing a dry autumn. Conifers and broadleaf evergreens like holly are susceptible to windburn. Before the ground freezes, make a wind break by driving three stakes into the ground in a V-shape around the trees and wrapping landscaping fabric around the stakes to protect the plants. Newly planted trees – fruit trees in particular — have thinner bark that can crack from fluctuating temperatures. Prevent this from happening using tree wrap tape or plastic spiral tree protectors.
If you need more advice on winterizing your garden, turn to Mendham Garden Center, your garden supply store in NJ. Our experts are ready to assist you, whether you visit us online, or at one of our three stores. Contact us today and we’ll help you get your plants and flowers ready for the cold.