Frost is on the pumpkin but the gardening season isn’t over yet. Here are some gardening tips from The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture for fall garden maintenance:
- Shrubs and trees
- It’s an ideal time to plant or transplant trees, shrubs and fruit crops. Be sure to mulch newly planted plants with a good 3-4" layer of mulch.
- Prune back Rose of Sharon, Hydrangeas, and other late season blooming trees and shrubs.
- If you have the resources, propagate deciduous shrubs such as hydrangea, viburnum and weigela; and evergreens such as ilex, juniperus, and taxus.
- Fertilize trees and shrubs before the ground freezes so that food is available to plants in
- early spring.
- Protect roses for winter.
- Perennials, annuals, and bulbs
- Cut chrysanthemum stems and other perennials to 4-5" from the soil once they have begun to die back, but leave ornamental grasses to provide winter interest until spring.
- You can continue to transplant perennials throughout the fall and winter, as long as they remain dormant.
- Cold_season annuals such as calendulas, Iceland poppies, primroses, pansies and violas, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale, can still be planted. The earlier in the month the better. Look for perennials such as carnations, Oriental poppies, and coral bells to plant as well.
- It’s the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Consider planting some of the minor bulbs such as winter aconite, glory of the snow, species tulips, narcissus and grape hyacinths.
- Mulch flower beds with 3-4" of good compost or fine mulch to keep soil temperature stable and prevent winter plant injury from frost heaving. As the compost or fine mulch decomposes, it will enrich your garden soil as well.
- Lawn care
- Its not too late to fertilize your lawn. Use a turf fertilizer and follow label directions. This encourages good root development and helps improve the color of the lawn.
- Keep heavy layers of leaves raked from the lawn. They should be composted. Alternatively, you can just mow over a light layer of leaves, turning them to a mulch which adds important nutrients back to the lawn.
- Fruits and veggies
- As soon as the leaves fall from fruit trees, shade or flowering trees, raspberries and other deciduous plants, they can be sprayed for the first time with a dormant spray. This spraying helps control over_wintering insects and diseases. Apply according to label instructions.
- Incorporate fertilizer in the annual and vegetable gardens for next growing season.
- Complete removal of fallen leaves and debris to protect from overwintering of insects and disease organisms
- Cut the tops off your asparagus plants, and add a winter dressing of aged manure to the bed.
- Cover strawberries two inches deep with hay or straw to reduce weeds and increase winter protection.
- Secure your raspberry canes to stakes to protect them from wind whipping.
- Indoor plants
- Give houseplants as much light as possible as lower light days begin.
- Continue to let up on fertilizing indoor plants until spring.
- If possible, provide houseplants with increased humidity as levels decrease due to indoor heating.
- Begin to increase the time between waterings but do not cut back on the amount of water.
- Odds and ends
- Force Bulbs indoors like Narcissus, Hyacinths and Amaryllis for color early in new year; start paperwhites in late November for Christmas flowering.
- Keep feeding the birds.