The Tree Center

8 Fall Cleanup Tips for a Better Spring Garden

October 28, 2019

Written by Dave G.

November will soon arrive, and that means increasing cold and shorter days in the garden. Especially in the north, some preparation is needed, although in warmer zones this is also a good month for planting trees and shrubs, especially deciduous ones. If you have plants in your garden that went in earlier in the year, they might need a little extra TLC, as they face their first winter with you – that care could make all the difference to their performance next year. Adding something new to the garden each year is an important way to stop it becoming stale and tired – gardening is all about the promise of something new and special performing well for you.

Since this is the end of the season, a good place to start is with all the things you need to stop doing, so let’s consider them first:

Stop trimming – if you are looking at your hedges and thinking they could use a trim, resist the temptation (in all but the warmest zones, at least). Mark your calendar for next year to make your last trim in early fall, well before any marked drop in temperatures. Trimming now will end up either leaving your hedge exposed, with lots of cut ends that don’t have time to heal over properly, or it will stimulate new growth that will only end up browning and dying, making your hedge look ugly and needing another trim in spring.

However, if you are looking at a really overgrown hedge, and you live where snow is a winter normal, then you are facing the risk of a collapsed hedge. Snow accumulates on all that long growth, weighing it down and breaking branches. Besides making a note to pay more attention to your hedges (!), take some pruners and cut back the longest branches. That way you can tidy up and reduce the risk of damage, without the negative impact of a full-scale trim.

That was easy – now we can look at the things to do when winter weather is near: