End of Summer Chores for Your Yard

End of Summer Chores for Your Yard
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End of Summer ChoresIn Northern climates, the end of August signals the end of summer with nights starting to become chilly, and many of our plants going to seed or winding down production of blooms. It's important not to ignore the garden and landscape this time of year.

Watch the precipitation levels, and water plants if the rain is not doing it's job. Look around your gardens and landscapes to plan chores you may not have gotten to in the spring when it was cool. These are a few of things you can tackle in the fall:

1. Sowing grass seed: there is still time to seed a new area, or reseed places that need some help. Work the soil up, sow the grass seed, cover lightly with straw, then water.  These areas will need to be watered twice a day until the roots start to grow, then cut back the water gradually as the grass fills in. This is important because the seeds and grass seedlings can dry out very quickly and die. A little bit of work now will make your lawn look nicer in the spring.

2. Planting trees and shrubs:  Fall is an excellent time of year to put in new trees or bushes. A few years ago I was able to grab three flowing bushes in gallon containers for a dollar each. They are beautiful now, and it's extra rewarding since they were such a bargain.  Check the local nurseries for deals, and take advantage. Plant the new bush or tree as soon as possible, within a day or two. Be sure to keep it watered until planting time.  Dig the hole no deeper than the depth of the root ball, but do dig the hole a little bigger around. Water the hole, place in the tree or bush, place the soil back in gently. Baby the new planting at first until it becomes established, mulching with 3.4 inches of material, and protecting it with fencing or some other material if rabbits or deer are a problem in the winter.

3. The dreaded fall leaves: It's tempting to leave them on the lawn, but if they are too thick they'll smother it.  The easiest thing to do is rake them onto a tarp, then grab the kids, and drag it to where they can be composted or stuffed into yard waste bags. There is no need to gather every single leaf.  A few can be cut up with the lawn mower and left on the lawn. If some blow into flowerbeds leave them be, and clean them up in the early spring. Consider throwing a leaf raking party with the kids and their friends. Provide cider and a treat of some type. The work will be done in an afternoon.

End of Summer Chores

4. Saving Bulbs: Tender bulbs, such as gladiolus, tuberous begonias, Cannas and dahlias can be left in the ground through a light frost. Afterward, dig up the plants, remove the foliage, air dry for a week or so at room temperature, then store them in cardboard or paper bags with peat moss, shredded paper or vermiculite. If you had seed starting mix left from the spring, they can be stored in that also. Do not store bulbs or rhizomes in plastic of any type.  Keep them in a cool, dry location until spring.

5. Collecting seeds: Some plants can be left to reseed, but the catch is that they will grow where they fall. In a cottage style or wildflower bed this is fine, but for a more groomed flower bed it's better to collect the seeds.  The following are easy flowers to collect the seeds from: calendula, zinnia, cosmos, black eyed susans, morning glory, columbine or snapdragon or bachelor buttons.  Spread the seeds in shallow baskets or boxes that you've line with newspaper. When they appear dry, store them in glass jars, pill bottles or resealable freezer bags. Keep them in a very dry, cool location. I've also used small paper envelopes with good success. Label the container with the flower name, date and location.

Fall is the perfect time to tackle chores because it's cool outside, instead of hot and humid. Look around your landscape and make a list of projects to be done before winter arrives. It will make your spring much more enjoyable.

Image: Wikimedia.org


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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