© 2022 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut Garden Journal: Fall garden cleanup requires less work than you think

Sustainable Lifestyle. Raw Organic Food. Autumn Harvesting. Large Green Organic Pumpkin Against Lavender Flower And Raw Vegetables Background. Full Frame, Ambient Light, Copy Space
Elena Popova
/
Moment RF / Getty Images
Sustainable Lifestyle. Raw Organic Food. Autumn Harvesting. Large Green Organic Pumpkin Against Lavender Flower And Raw Vegetables Background. Full Frame, Ambient Light, Copy Space

With the leaves dropping and the weather still warm, it's a perfect time to start fall garden cleanup. This time honored process has undergone some recommended changes over the last few years. Let me explain.

First, if the flowers are still blooming and veggies and herbs producing, leave them. Enjoy every last moment of this year's garden before frost takes it all away. In annual flower and vegetable gardens, cut to the ground and remove any diseased or insect damaged plants. If the plants were mostly healthy this summer, consider trying the No-Dig Gardening method of chopping the foliage and dropping it right on the soil. This will protect the garden soil from erosion, keep the soil microbes healthy and be less work.

In the perennial flower garden, the current recommendation is to leave the plants until spring. Cleaning up the dead plants now removes beneficial insects and pollinators that overwinter in the leaf and stem material. In spring, after a week of 50 degree days, you can clean it all up.

Add arborist's wood chips to the perennial flower beds that have open areas and around shrubs and trees. A 3- to 4-inch thick layer of arborists' wood chips keeps weeds away, breaks down to feed the soil and is better than shredded mulch because it doesn't block air and water transfer. Check with your local arborists to get a load of chips.

Top dress lawns with a 1/4-inch thick layer of compost and reseed bare spots to create a thicker, lusher lawn with fewer weeds and help the lawns stay green during a drought.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
Related Content