Los Jardineros: Celebrating autumn, preparing gardens

By Debrah Dubay
Posted 9/26/19

The autumnal equinox occurred on Sept. 21 and we've said goodbye to the summer sun while those cooler evenings and mornings let us know the beautiful fall days are here. So take …

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Los Jardineros: Celebrating autumn, preparing gardens

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The autumnal equinox occurred on Sept. 21 and we've said goodbye to the summer sun while those cooler evenings and mornings let us know the beautiful fall days are here. So take advantage of one of those warm days for cleaning up flowerbeds and preparing your yard for winter. The most important time to fertilize is fall. It gives your ornamental shrubs, roses, grasses and trees the boost they'll need for winter.

If you have grass in your yard it is time for the last application of fertilizer. Yards fertilized in the fall will come up healthier in the spring.

Plant sticks are fertilizers inserted in the ground that slowly disintegrate with each rain and fertilize roots of dormant roses, evergreen trees, fruit trees and other special trees. In spring you'll have the most amazing roses when you use the plant sticks over the winter months. You'll most likely have juicier, more abundant fruit from trees that have had plant sticks fertilizing them during the winter. Though water is most important for healthy trees, the application of plant sticks for new or less established trees may be beneficial as well.

As you prepare your flowerbeds you'll find mulch helpful in protecting your perennial plants and ornamental shrubs. Mulch helps reduce weeds, helps retain water - and it certainly looks great.

Some people prefer to trim yards in the fall while others prefer early spring. In most cases there is no absolute correct answer to this question, but you should consider if you have shrubs that bloom on new wood or old wood like lilacs.

Also you may want to think of the needs of beneficial insects and birds and the role your yard plays in supporting them.

Most shrubs bloom on old wood and need to be trimmed soon after blooming. Regular trimming is beneficial to keep the proper height and shape. Other shrubs like potentilla, bluebeard, butterfly bush and some spiraea need new wood to encourage blooming and should be trimmed in late fall or early spring.

Either season works but it is good to think about beneficial insects that may have laid eggs on the shrubs and whether your favorite birds may want to shelter in the protection of the existing shrub branches while feeding at your bird feeders.

So many decisions make gardening rewarding.

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