A fall bed cleanup may seem entirely cosmetic, but it goes a long way to give your beds the best chance to perform well next year.
What is included in a fall bed cleanup?
- Summer annuals and other spent flowers are removed
- We carefully deadhead perennials (black-eyed susan, coral bells, hosta, etc.)
- Large ornamental grasses are cut back
- Weeds are pulled
- Pocketed leaves and debris are cleaned out
- Finally, beds are raked for a tidy finish
Is it worth the investment?
Many of the problematic pests we deal with in our landscape spend the winter in leaf litter and other debris. Insects, fungus, bacteria, and viruses can all hide out in your beds until spring comes around. Keeping a tidy garden can radically reduce the risk of disease or infestation when the temperatures swing back up.
Additionly, a tidy garden bed will add winter interest to your landscape with clean lines, rich colors, and striking textures.
When should a cleanup be performed?
The cooler months provide perfect conditions for cutting back perennials and ornamental grasses, helping them grow back stronger in the spring. We typically recommend these activities occur after the first hard frost (once temperatures drop to 26 degrees).
If perennials are pruned too early while still actively growing, they will be forced to use the reserves they should be storing for next year. The new tender growth will get hit by late fall - winter temperature changes which could damage the plant.
You can also help protect your plants from these temperature flucuations by adding a fresh layer of mulch to help insulate the soil. This is particularly important for new plantings.