October 15, 2018 8:58 am

Master gardener gives tips on prepping the yard for fall

Master gardener, Anne Maxwell, gives Bill Hall a lesson in fall gardening. What should we do or not do before the snow arrives?

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Fall is here and it won’t be long before the colder weather puts our yards and gardens to sleep for another year.

Master gardener, Anne Maxwell, has a few tips to ensure your garden has a fighting chance next spring.

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She tells us it’s time to cut back the perennials — if you haven’t already.

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“Actually, they should have been cut back by now.” She adds, “If there’s any fungus on them or mildew, I wouldn’t put them into your compost pile.”

You don’t want this unwanted growth spreading through your garden but you can spread your leaves.

We often rake — bag them up — and ship them off to the city compost but Maxwell says this is a mistake.

“My husband will take the lawn mower and mulch them down and I’ll throw them on the garden beds. I’d go about three to four inches deep.”

This covering of mulch will protect the garden over the winter and — in the spring — provide sufficient nutrients. Maxwell has never had to use manufactured fertilizers on her 10-acre paradise.

When cutting the lawn this time of year, it’s best to leave the grass stalk about three to four inches high. This will keep the lawn strong and reduce the risk of damage due to frost.

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You can even add some grass seed to areas that need it. Throw some mulch on to keep it in place. This will also give it a generous spring feeding.

Transplant now, before the frost. Maxwell has been busy at this.

“This year, I took my Black-Eyed Susans, which I have a huge area of, and I split them into 20 small plants. I planted them in the front garden.” She adds, “These must go in areas where it’s not too sunny. They don’t like too much sun.”

Tulips, daffodils and other bulbs need to be planted now. They are the first to sprout in the spring.

“That’s if the squirrels don’t get them.” laughs Maxwell. She has advice to fool those pesky rodents.

“You’ll read the package and it’ll say maybe six inches deep to plant them. Well, I don’t! Go nine inches and put a little bone meal in there. It’s good for the roots. She adds, “The squirrels rarely find them.”

There’s a lot of ground to cover in the yard this fall. If you have questions and need more help, go online at Master Gardeners of Ontario.

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