It’s weeks away. But as sure as leaf tannin stains decks and driveways, fall foliage is coming.
So kick back and give a few thoughts to some backyard maintenance that can be done now — and might make falling leaves less of a problem.
Right now — on the cusp of early fall — is the ideal time to prune. Cutting plants back now will give them enough time to callous over before the first frost.
Without callouses, frost can cause them to die back or not bloom come spring. And we don’t want that.
One area that needs a little care before leaves drop is the backyard pond.
In a previous post, our blog covered in detail the importance of protecting pond water from falling leaves.
“Netting your pond before fall foliage is important,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “But once the leaves have all fallen, you can pull out the netting and get rid of the leaves and have pristine clear water come spring. Water features can be enjoyed all through fall, and even into winter.”
Pond experts at Aquascape Inc., a leading pond supply company, also suggest “tenting” the net so it doesn’t sag into the water when it becomes heavy with leaves and debris.
They also say to trim back aquatic plants to reduce the amount of organic material decomposing in the colder months. A previous blog offers more details on water plants and how to care for pond fish in fall.
Before the leaves start falling off trees in your yard, check them out to see if there are any branches that do not have leaves on them.
“This will tell you which branches might offer potential problems later down the road,” says Dave.
“Come the cold weather, dead limbs snap off due to the weight of ice and snow. This can cause havoc with power lines. Not to mention they can be a source of accidents to cars, people and homes.”
To give plants a head start before spring, now, through the end of October, is a great time to be planting.
Many of you will, of course, be thinking of planting bulbs for spring beauties like tulips, daffodils etc. But you can get all kinds of perennials in the ground now that will give you buds in spring, and color next fall/winter.
In an earlier blog, we discussed — Skimmia — along with other plants that offer color in the colder months. In spring these will give you vibrant white flowers; in fall, crimson red fruits (berries) that last through winter.
A bit of effort in fall — before the leaves fall — brings big rewards come next outdoor season. Clean pond water, tidy and safe yards, blooming with color.