As the weather gets colder here in Cincinnati, we have 25 things that you need to do to make your garden amazing this spring.
Top 25 Things to Do in the Garden
- Provide good soil moisture for your larger trees and evergreens, landscape shrubs, perennials, and lawn, as they go into the fall and winter. If your yard receives less than 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, you need to supplement it. Good moisture in the soil as well as in the plants is a very important part of how well your plants will make it through the winter and into next spring
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, anemones, alliums, etc. Plant several in pots for bringing indoors early next spring. October through November is the best time for planting spring bulbs.
- Dig and divide most spring and early summer flowering perennials as needed. Late summer (August through Sept.) is the time for iris and peonies.
- Dig, clean and store summer bulbs (cannas, tuberous begonias, gladiolas, caladiums, etc.) in a cool dark place for replanting next year. Let the light early frosts kill the tops, then dig and store away
- Bring tropical plants that have been outside all summer, indoors, before night temperatures reach below the 50’s. Acclimate them in the shade for 10 days before bringing indoors. Then, be sure to inspect and treat for insects and other critters before bringing them indoors. Check in the pots and soil for hitch-hikers as well!
- Apply Preen (or Espoma’s Corn Gluten) in the fall to help prevent winter annuals from germinating (chickweed, henbit, purslane) in landscape beds.
- Continue to remove all dead foliage from perennials and clean up leftover annuals and veggie plants. Cut them off and leave the roots. They will break down and add organic matter back to the soil. Place disease-free dead foliage in the compost pile.
- Start a compost pile; it doesn’t take much space. Today’s yard debris can become tomorrow’s garden gold as a soil amendment. Grass clippings, finely ground leaves, small sticks, vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, spent flowers and foliage, etc, can all be added to the compost pile.
- Start (or pot from outdoors) herbs for growing indoors over the winter.
- Cover water gardens, ground cover and newly seeded areas with nylon netting to keep leaves and debris out, and makes it easier for you to collect the leaves!
- Keep planting trees and shrubs. As long as the soil is workable and the weather is good, you can plant all through the rest of the year. Water newly planted trees and shrubs as needed until we get into consistently cold weather. Also, check soil moisture between foundation plants and the foundation. If that area is dry, water.
- Protect younger trees (3-inch trunk diameter or smaller) from deer damage (bucks rubbing) with trunk protectors. Protect your other plants with DeerScram / Liquid Fence / Repels All, etc. Also, consider nylon netting coverage.
- Transplant trees and shrubs and perennials that need to be moved in the yard.
- Expect your evergreens to shed inner needled during the fall. It’s a normal process. But be sure to keep them watered going through the fall season.
- Do last-minute ‘hand trimming’ of evergreens, tree limbs, etc. late fall if needed (plants are overgrown in their location), but save most hard or severe pruning for late winter/spring. Pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs in the fall will reduce or eliminate spring flowers, so prune after flowering to preserve spring flowers.
- Fall (October) is the best time to go after those broadleaf weeds in the landscape and lawns. Using a weed killer in the fall works better as the weeds are taking in nutrients and storing them in their roots for winter, so they take in the weed killer as well. Spot treat the weeds as needed. Remember, if you have new grass, make sure it has been mowed at least 3 times before applying a weed killer.
- Gather frost-sensitive fruits and veggies before Jack Frost takes them out!
- Till the garden this fall. Exposed soils freeze and thaw over the winter and help to break up that heavy soil. Add a layer of compost, pine soil conditioner, SweetPeet, manure, or finely ground leaves and grass clippings before you till. Fall is the best time to apply most soil amendments.
- Feed the trees in late fall if needed. Vertical mulching or soil injection with a Ross Root feeder works great. If feeding evergreens, wait until late fall and use ½ normal rate. Spring is good for feeding evergreens.
- Feed the birds, and clean your feeders if it hasn’t been done recently. Make sure your birds have a source of water over the winter, as well as landscaping for the birds, including evergreens, plants with seeds or berries, and thicker growing shrubs.
- Has your soil been tested? Many adjustments can be made this fall and early next spring.
- Empty or properly store containers and planters to prevent freezing and damages to the pots. If you are overwintering planted pots, move them to unheated garages, sheds, window wells, etc, after they have gone dormant and the temperatures have gotten consistently cold. Keep these plants cold to remain dormant all winter. Water once per month.
- Spray evergreens (as needed) with WiltStop for greater winter protection. Do this later in the fall. You can also spray rose canes for added winter protection.
- Do not protect roses for the winter until late in the year, after the plants have gone dormant and the soil is close to or frozen. Reduce long branches as needed, but save serious pruning for next spring.
- Winter mulching should not be done until the ground is frozen, or at least down into the lower 40’s or colder. And remember to keep mulch away from the bottom of tree trunks, and for critter protection away from the base of most landscape plants.
Enjoy your garden
Cincinnati gardening made simple! Have a garden question? Ask the garden experts!