Fall Gardening Tips: Prepare Your Garden For Winter
By Danica Dodson, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on October 23, 2020, October 23, 2020

Fall Gardening Tips

As the weather cools off this fall, outdoor activities become much more pleasant and we no longer have to worry about the Texas heat limiting our time outside! Fall is a great opportunity to catch up on yard and garden maintenance that may have been pushed aside during the hot summer months. APRD’s Urban Forestry Land Manager, Wendy Pappas, recommends carrying out these gardening projects this fall in order to prepare your landscape for the winter.

Separate or Divide Plants

Dividing your plants is a great way to multiply your garden supply without paying a dime or starting new growth from scratch. Fall is the perfect time of year to do this, because it allows the roots of the plants to take a solid hold before the hot summer arrives next year. You’ll want to divide your plants at least several weeks before the first winter frost so they have a better chance of surviving the cold months. Simply dig up the plant you’d like to divide and separate it into several sections, making sure each section has plenty of roots. After that, just plant each section where you’d like in your garden, then mulch and water! It’s an easy task that provides a lot of payoff and improves the look and efficiency of your garden.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

It’s a common misconception that spring is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Fall or winter is actually the perfect time to introduce new trees and shrubs to your landscape! This is because roots will have an easier time acclimating to their new environment in colder weather so they can have a solid foundation in the soil before the summer heat. Tree roots do most of their growing in the fall, but go into survival mode in hot months and stop growing entirely.

Clean Up Flower Beds

This task may not sound like the most exciting garden activity, but it’s an important step nonetheless. Why not take advantage of comfortable temperatures and freshen up your flowerbeds? First, cut back any plants that have old stalks sticking up and also cut back your hardy perennials. Remove old mulch and leaves by raking your beds to prevent disease and clutter. You can even collect the old leaves and mulch and add them into your compost pile, but never bag up old leaves and mulch for the landfill. They are much more useful as organic matter in your own yard! 

Mulch and Plant Bulbs

After you clean your beds, be sure to mulch, as this will protect your hardy perennials from the winter cold. A 3-inch layer of mulch is perfect for this time of year and will not only clean up the look of your garden, but will also retain moisture and help regulate soil temperature. Fall is also a great time of year to plant bulbs that flower in the spring. 

Clean Your Tools

Not only is it important to clean up your beds, but it’s also a good idea to clean your gardening tools to extend their life and improve efficiency. You can clean and sharpen your pruners, and remove all dirt from tools such as rakes and shovels as leaving dirt on them will cause rusting.

Clean outdoor furniture with soapy water and cover or bring inside for the winter. It’s highly recommended to bring any planting pots indoors, especially ceramics, as cold weather can cause them to easily crack.

We hope these suggestions help you get your garden in tip-top shape this fall in preparation for winter! Stay tuned this autumn for more landscape maintenance tips ideal for cooler months.

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