Get your lawn and landscape ready for cooler months ahead

Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 03:30 PM.

Fall weather is in the air and its arrival to the Cape Fear region is much-appreciated!   But the work isn’t over. Cooler weather means that deciduous landscape plants and warm-season turfgrass will soon be going into dormancy, a period of inactivity when plants store energy for the colder months ahead. As you reclaim the outdoors and get back to your garden you will still find there is plenty of work to do in order to get your landscape ready for winter. 

Divide and conquer

Not only does this apply to your fall cleanup and maintenance chores, but also to your perennial plantings. Fall is a great time to divide and relocate perennials such as daylilies, iris, hosta, and liriope. Fall is also the best time of the year to plant landscape trees and shrubs because it gives plants time to acclimate to their new environment; and watering, although important, is less critical.

When temperatures approach freezing, you can cut down the stems on your perennials to an inch or two from the ground, but leave the ground level cluster of green leaves that form on some perennials. Remove only older, brown stems that remain from spent flowers. Keep in mind that certain plants, like Black eyed Susans, asters, and coreopsis will provide food for birds in the winter months and should only be removed after the seed heads have been eaten.

Raking and mulching

As trees begin to shed their leaves remove leaf debris from the lawn. Large piles of leaves left on the lawn will not break down quickly and can kill turfgrass. Dead leaves can be mulched with a lawn mower. Mulched leaf debris used in beds to create a top layer of organic material that will supply nutrients to the soil or added to the compost pile.

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