October 11 2019

Autumn Gardening Checklist

Indoor plants: Bring your ornamentals — like spider plants, ferns, ficus, rubber plants, tropical hibiscus and potted herbs — inside before the first killing frost. Water them heavily about two weeks before the frost to kill insects and disease, and re-pot the ones that have outgrown their containers. Remember, these plants will likely go into shock with the temperature and humidity change, so be prepared to give them extra attention. And don’t expect blooms and leaf production to be as consistent as they were in summer. Indoor plants spend the winter just staying alive until they can get back outside in the spring.

Leaves: Leave your leaves in your yard this fall. Mower-shredded foliage is great food for the soil around trees and shrubs. Visit the beds at Aullwood Garden MetroPark to see how the beds look and perform when they’ve got fuel from composted leaves. Our region’s peak color time has shifted from the middle of the month to the end of the month — so you’ve got a bit of time to plan your forest walks. Our best parks for tree gazing are SugarcreekGermantownTwin CreekEnglewoodHills & Dales and Taylorsville MetroParks.

Trees: Fall is the perfect time to put new trees in the ground, but don’t wait until later than the end of October. Because the temperatures are typically moderate to cool, there’s less risk of the trees being stressed by extreme heat. The fall rain in cooler temps also helps trees and shrubs establish root systems. Mulch new trees to help retain the soil moisture.

Bulbs: You still have plenty of time to put bulbs in the ground. Choose a well-drained, sunny spot for most bulbs and consider putting early bloomers like crocus, scilla, and snowdrops under trees for early, beautiful color before the big show of most tulips and daffodils. Also look into native bulbs such as camassia, whose blue color and tall bloom stalks are great for mixing with alliums and tulips.

Watering: Water perennials, shrubs and trees as they go into dormancy to keep them healthy for spring. Keep watering all of your plants through through the beginning of December.

Perennials: It’s too late to plant them now. Stack them in a protected area and put mulch or leaves over them and plant them in the spring.

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