When weather allows, take time to tidy up your landscape and create a clean slate for the next growing season. Usher in the cold weather season by trimming dead branches and deadheading foliage. Freshen up your outdoor space with a layer of mulch.
Tidy Up the landscape Now:
- Examine. Look over your landscape with a critical eye and note problem spots you want to correct.
- Remove. Trim any dead branches as well as blooms or stems on perennials, shrubs and trees with loppers and pruners. Do a little research before you prune because not all shrubs and trees get pruned the same. For example, don’t prune shrubs and trees that bloom on old wood, like lilacs and some hydrangeas, or you may discard next year’s flowers.
- Replace. If summer temperatures were extremely high, annuals and tropicals may be tired or even dead. Replace them with cool-weather annuals including pansies, violas and flowering cabbage and kale.
- Cut. Use a string trimmer to cut grass around shrubs, trees, raised garden beds and borders.
- Rake. Rake away any leaves from garden beds and grass. Oak and other fibrous leaves can mat down and smother plants. Use the shredder attachment on your leaf blower or mower to create leaf mulch. Then, top garden soil with shredded leaves or pile them into a compost pile to be used in spring. Shredded leaves make for healthier soil and encourage earthworm activity.
- Add. Pull the landscape together with a fresh 2- to 3-inch layer of new mulch.
The deadheads and leftovers of perennial flowers offer food for birds and other critters. If you don’t mind their messy look, keep them.