Fall Garden Care

Fall garden care in New England is all about protecting your plants for winter, preparing for the next season and extending your color display with cool weather-loving ornamental plants.

As sad as we may be to see summer end, the weather is right for working outdoors. Studley’s has all your tips for investments that will pay off in spades next spring!

Garden Care

To reduce disease and pest infestation risk, pull spent annuals at the root, and remove weed and leaf debris. Harvest the remains of any fruits or vegetables and toss anything rotting in the compost pile. Trim back perennials that have passed their bloom period. With the exception of woody plants and perennial vines, a good rule of thumb is, “If it’s brown – cut it down.” When trimming, leave a couple of inches above the soil so returning growth will be easy to spot next year.

When it comes to trees and shrubs, we do not recommend pruning in the fall. These plants are preparing to go dormant now and pruning will stimulate new growth that could be damaged when the temperature drops.

Once your beds are clean, this is a good time to mix fertilizer or organic compost into the soil to refresh nutrients that will make it ripe for rich spring growth. Be sure to also clear out containers and bring tender plants inside for the winter.

Divide Plants

With any extraneous material removed from your garden beds, this is a great time to take stock of opportunities for improvement in your landscape. Do you have perennials that are becoming too large for their space or overcrowding other plants? Are there areas that appear bare or are ideal for a new garden?

You can divide large perennials to control growth and re-purpose them in another location. Most bulbs can also be easily dug up and pulled apart. For perennials or large bulbous plants, pop the entire root ball out of the ground, divide at the roots with a sharp spade and replant in sparse areas or share them with a friend!

What To Plant Now

Fall is the right time to prepare your garden for a gorgeous spring show of color! Now is the time to plant spring blooming bulbs such as Alliums, Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacynth, and Tulips. This is also the time to plant Garlic bulbs. Garlic is not only delicious, but highly nutritious, low in calories and full of medicinal and health purposes. Plant some now to have a fresh supply on hand next summer, your diet will thank you for it!

While you can technically plant until you can no longer dig in the ground, your bulbs will do best if planted about 6 weeks before the ground freezes – long enough to take hold before going dormant, but not enough time to risk premature sprouting. Get more details in our blog article, Savvy Gardeners Are Planting Fall Bulbs Now For Big Spring Bloom Rewards.

Fall is also an ideal time to plant new deciduous and/or coniferous trees and shrubs. There is still plenty of time to allow roots systems to establish before the frost really sets in. We recommend you apply a layer of mulch around newly planted trees to protect through the winter, starting a few inches from the trunk and extend out to at least the drip line.

Visit our online Plant Finder to search our current inventory and find plants to add to your garden this fall!

Fall Ornamentals

Just because annual and perennial plants have passed their peak, doesn’t mean your landscape can’t boast vivid color. Use cool weather loving fall ornamental plants like chrysanthemums, asters, ornamental kale, and grasses to extend your garden display. While mums do well in pots, you can also plant them directly in the ground to dress up your garden beds. When selecting mums, look for plants with the most unopened buds and deadhead spent flowers for the optimum bloom show. Ornamental kale, a relative of cabbage, will pair well with your fall mums and is available in a variety of colors and texture.

Pro Services

A well-designed and maintained garden enhances the look and functionality of your home. If you don’t have the time or the gumption to tackle your fall garden care, let the Landscaping pros at Studley’s do it for you. Visit our Garden Center for all the supplies and helpful expert advice you need – we stock premium bulbs for all the spring blooming flowers mentioned here. We also grow all our own mums to bring you only the freshest plants in a wide variety of brilliant colors.

Our Bushel Basket Mums are also available for purchase online for local delivery to your home or business!

My Pro Tip

Get creative with your fall containers. Choose unusual items as your container and to use as accents. The natural hues found in all things old are an excellent complement to autumn colors. A shiny or aged patina copper bin, galvanized or rusty tub, an old wooden trunk, or plants stacked on the rungs of an old ladder make for a fun an unexpected display. Use a combination of mums and kale as foundation plants, add tall grasses or corn stalks to gain height. Accent with other organic elements such as pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, bright leaves, tree branches, and pine cones for added interest. Weave in some dried vines as an accent, but avoid Bittersweet as it is highly invasive. Punch up the color by painting pumpkins, branches and pine cones to complement your design. Finally – add a solar lantern or fairy lights to highlight the mystique of the season and showcase your display day or night!

Use houseplants for the same effects indoors. Check out our selection of Mail Order Plants online or visit our Greenhouse in store.

See you at Studley’s!

Written by Molly Meulenbroek

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