A fall bed clean up is a great practice that will best prepare your beds for the next season.
In a fall bed clean up spent perennials will be dead headed or cut back, pocketed leaves will be removed, weeds will be pulled and the beds will be raked smooth. Summer annuals will also be removed if needed. While all of these practices seem cosmetic, they actually go a long way to give your beds the best chance to perform well next year.
- cut back or dead head spent perennials (black eyed susan, coral bells, hosta, etc)
- remove pocketed leaves and debris
- pull weeds
- rake smooth the beds
- remove summer annuals
- cut back large ornamental grasses
The plants will actually let you know which ones need to be cut back early and which need to be cut back later. When plants have gone dormant their leaves will yellow and brown and they will break away from the plant easily. Most can be cleaned away by a gentle raking.
Cut those that require it to within 2 - 3 inches of the ground, leaving the crown undisturbed. Generally, cutting back should be done after a hard frost. A temperature of 26 degrees is usually considered to be a hard frost. If your perennials are cut down too early in the fall and they are 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 our undulating late fall and winter temperature changes and could damage the plant.
Typically, Dowco begins fall bed cleanups in October which is appropriate for St. Louis.
Many of the most problematic pests we deal with in our landscape actually spend the winter in debris and then when the temperatures warm and they begin their movement they are right there next to your plant ready to damage your investment. Pests do not just include insects. Fungus, bacteria, and viruses also fall under the pest category and all of these subcategories have a member of their group that can overwinter in debris. These landscape menaces can be expensive and difficult to control.
To properly control any pest you must use exactly the right product, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right location. However by just taking away the place where the pests overwinter in your beds, you reduce the likelihood of an infection or infestation. It won’t guarantee you won’t be affected but it at least makes it that much harder on the pest and possibly that much easier on your wallet.
The aesthetic aspect is also important. A fall bed clean up before winter will make your property look its best through the cold winter months!
Dowco is the premier provider of lawn care and landscape maintenance services. We are committed to improving the quality of your life so that you can spend time doing the things you want to do! Our full service menu includes weekly maintenance of your property, plant health visits, and modern site enhancements.