With winter quickly approaching in Toronto, it reminds us that the gardening season is coming to an end. However, the following simple gardening tips will keep your garden looking great into the Fall and help your plants and garden look more beautiful next season.
1) Remove dead/old flower stalks off flowering perennials
2) Split perennials where applicable and plant bulbs
3) Remove summer annuals (i.e. impatiens) before first frost to avoid a messy cleanup
4) Plant cold tolerant annuals (i.e. mums, cabbage) for late season colour
Fall is also a great time to transplant (move) plants or plant new trees and evergreens. The cooler temperatures and increased precipitation causes less stress on agitated and newly planted plants. It's always a smart idea to add some plant fertilizer when planting or transplanting plants. Once again, a fertilizer high in the second (phosphorus) and Third (potassium) numbers on the label will benefit the plants the most moving into the winter season (see Preparing your lawn and garden for Fall and Winter - Lawn Tips for fertilizing tips).
Finally, one object that is often overlooked in gardens is preparing evergreen shrubs and trees for the winter season. Unlike deciduous trees, evergreen trees do not lose their leaves in the fall and as such, continue losing water through their leaves throughout the winter season. Making sure evergreen plants get a good watering before the winter can help minimize the damaging effects of winter kill.
Some other tricks to help shrubs and trees survive the winter include wrapping plants and trees in burlap. This can reduce the harmful effects of the cold winter winds and salt spray off roadways. Mounding mulch around plants reduces the damage of cold temperatures and adding organic mulch to a garden in the fall will provide nutrients for plants in the soil all winter long.
Although the weather is changing, the Fall offers new and exciting possibilities for gardening options and can be used as the stepping stone for preparing your next seasons garden.