Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Darrin Parmenter
With the hail, wind, freezes and snow causing a painful end to the area’s growing spaces, it is time to start putting your landscape to bed for the season.
I’m expecting a couple more nice, warm weekends to finish the jobs that never seem to get done during these busy fall months.
Here are some recommendations from CSU Extension that will help you with “tucking everything in”:
If you have a lawn, fall is one of the better times to fertilize. As long as your grass is still “green,” apply one-half to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The benefits of fall fertilizing include a healthier turf before winter, a healthier root system and stimulating a turf that becomes green earlier in the spring without excessive top growth.
Compost fall leaves. Fall leaves are a valuable resource because they keep garden soil productive. As you add whole leaves to the compost, moisten them until they’re the consistency of a wet sponge.
Protect your strawberries. Use 1 to 2 inches of straw mulch to protect the plants from winter kill.
Make sure that the straw isn’t allowed to blow away – use a screen, weighted boards or even piles of soil. Leave the mulch on as long as possible to restrain plant growth in the spring.
Apply manure to your garden beds. If you are using uncomposted manure, fall is the only time to add it to beds with edible crops. Add no more than an inch and a half of manure to your bed.
If possible, make sure the manure does not hold the risk of herbicide carryover from animals that fed on grass treated with certain classifications of herbicides.
Plant garlic. It’s not too late to plant garlic (pointy-end upward) – 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep – into a rich, loose soil. Water thoroughly, then mulch the bed with a thick layer of leaves or straw.
Avoid pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia, lilacs, viburnum and Siberian peashrub. Spring-flowering shrubs bloom on one-year old wood. A good rule of thumb with these shrubs is: “Prune after bloom.”
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.