One way you know it’s fall on Long Island is apple-picking kicks into gear just as leaves start changing color. Perhaps the smell of warm cider against the backdrop of bright colored leaves is Mother Nature’s consolation for taking away summer.
Of course, like all good things, this consolation comes with a few chores. Because what follows peak color (expected to arrive here around October 19th) is the inevitable clean up.
If these leaves fall on the lawn, they can easily be raked and collected. However, if you have a pond or other water feature, those fallen leaves can cause a bit of a mess and a lot more work come spring.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution. “It’s a good idea to get pond netting up before the leaves begin to fall,” says Dave Stockwell of Deck and Patio.
Ideally you’ll have your netting up before any leaves fall. And then simply pull it out when they’ve all dropped. “And you can tent the net so it doesn’t sag into the pond when it gets weighted with leaves,” adds Dave.
The netting will save countless hours come spring says Dave. “Of course, if you’re a bit late doing that, you can always use a long-handle pond net to clear out the debris, but it’s much easier if you use a net.”
Another good idea, says Dave, is to trim back and remove and dead foliage from the aquatic plants before or after you put up the net. This cuts down excessive organic material that might otherwise decompose in the water feature.”
Pond lilies are idyllic water plants. However, during early fall, they are one of the plants that it’s a good idea to cut back to just about the base of the plant; also trim back any marginal plants that might eventually droop over into the water.
Since some debris will make it into your pond no matter how hard you work, Aquascape Inc. recommends adding a cold water bacteria treatment, which has concentrated strains of beneficial bacteria that works well below 50 degrees (F). Their expert, Dave Kelly, recommends adding it routinely to help maintain water clarity and quality.
Okay, so there’s a few chores to do. But Mother Nature is putting on a show over the next few weeks. And if you’re planning to travel to view the colors change and learn when we’ll be at peak here on Long Island or elsewhere, a good foliage map is produced by the Smoky Mountain National Park (link).
Below is a screen shot of their map showing Long Island should be at near peak color around October 12th. But it’s always a good idea to get updates because rain, wind and rapid temperature changes can affect the timing.
Also! A great link for the best places for apple picking on Long Island can be found at mommypoppins.com. We also have a screen shot of their feature article on this (below).