It’s Fall. Put Your Garden to Bed.
by Martinique Davis
Sep 09, 2010 | 1937 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEADHEADING PERENNIALS is an important part of fall maintenance of your garden. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
DEADHEADING PERENNIALS is an important part of fall maintenance of your garden. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
When winter’s chilling presence begins to send local gardens into their seasonal dormancy, it may seem natural for homeowners to abandon their spades and shovels and await the profligacy of spring. But autumn is an important time to attend to a garden’s needs since a garden that is put to bed healthy is more apt to awaken robust come springtime.

Colorado master gardener and Telluride-based San Juan Landscapes’ Garden Manager Frannie Aura offers tips on how best to prepare your landscape for the long winter ahead.

1. Cut back perennials and decorative grasses to just above the ground, disposing of the clippings. Some shrubs, like False Spirea and Elderberry, also do well being cut back all the way.

2. Weed now to prevent weeds from taking over in the spring. Take care to get the roots.

3. Rake leaves from turf and garden beds and dispose of them to help prevent disease.

4. Protect delicate shrubs by surrounding them with certified weed-free straw and wrapping them in burlap.

5. Apply a winter soil amendment, such as Yum Yum winterizer, which provides nutrients for below-ground root growth while the plant remains dormant above ground.

6. Add mulch to perennial beds. This helps insulate the plants during the cold winter months, especially in sunny areas that are prone to melt and therefore lose the insulating barrier of snow.

Fall is also an excellent time to get a jump-start on planting for next summer’s garden. Spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and allium can be planted from September to mid-October, or before the snow comes, and will add a welcome burst of life and color to springtime gardens.

If you have plants or shrubs that have outgrown their space or need to be relocated, fall is a great time to transplant. Consider dividing your perennials as well, which Aura recommends doing every three years to assure they have plenty of room to grow.

San Juan Landscapes can be reached by calling 708-5099 or visit

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