Fall can be a busy time for homeowners; however, don’t forget a few outside jobs, which can make for a better lawn or garden next year. A few more lawn and garden tips for the fall are as follows:
• Cleanup around roses, flowerbeds and summer vegetable gardens; diseased or insect infested foliage and stems left on the ground can harbor pests that may overwinter and reoccur next year.
• Red maple trees offer brilliant fall color and they may be safely planted now; recommended varieties include ‘Red Sunset,’ ‘October Glory’ and ‘Autumn Flame.’
• A final weeding-mulching of fruit and ornamental plants will help prevent weeds next year.
• Now is a good time to dig new flower or garden beds for next year. Incorporate plenty of organic matter if possible and leave the soil rough to allow for good water penetration. Plant a cover crop to increase the soil’s organic matter content.
• Cover your tender garden and flower plants on the first nights of frost. Often if tender plants are protected from early frosts they will continue to bloom or bear fruit for several more weeks.
• Houseplants that have been outside all summer should be allowed to make a fairly slow transition to indoor conditions. Quick changes in environments often results in yellowed foliage and leaf drop. To avoid injury, bring plants indoors before temperatures dip very low. Be sure to check for insect pests before you move your plants; a light washing removes insects.
• This is the season that many insects may begin to migrate indoors. Watch out for the giant wood roaches and crickets; the two that cause the most alarm. Spiders, box elder bugs and ants can also be a problem. Spiders are actually beneficial, but not inside the house. Try to keep mulch away from the base of your house, and do a good job of sanitation.
• Clean up home orchard and small-fruit plantings. Sanitation is essential for good maintenance. Dried fruits or “mummies” carry disease organisms through the winter to attack next year’s crop.
• Remove any diseased or insect-infested plant material from your garden; it may harbor overwintering stages of disease and insect pests. If you leave this plant material in your garden, you are leaving diseases and insects that will begin to reproduce again next spring and add to next year’s pest problem.
If you have any additional questions on lawns and gardens, call the Dawson County Extension Service at (706) 265-2442.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent.