Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Fall To-do’s

Hello Fellow Readers,

A faithful Blairstown reader, dear friend, and fellow fan of Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculous parviflora) suggested I write about what to do in the garden each time of year. Roger Roger here goes.

Aesculous parviflora, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Garden Dilemmas, Mary Stone

Roger with his newly installed Aesculous parviflora

You’ve likely noticed the squirrels and other critters are foraging for food as the pre-winter feeding frenzy is underway. Hence deer are more likely to chomp the heck out of your plants; time to ramp up the deer spray. My favorite is Deer-Out with a clove oil base and therefore doesn’t smell like a decaying animal or a bad septic on a hot day. While systemic, meaning it soaks into the plant and can last up to 3 months, I would spray every 3 to 4 weeks through the fall and during the winter when above freezing. Some suggest rotating sprays as deer seem to learn how to hold their nose especially when pickings are slim.

We’ve been extraordinarily dry and you may recall from last winter that broadleaf and needled evergreens are particularly vulnerable to winter burn. To prevent winter damage, deeply water your shrubs and trees before the ground freezes and in the winter months if there’s a thaw. However, fall is not a good time to fertilize or prune which adds stress to plants.

Collect seeds from annuals and perennials you want to propagate. Or, let them go to seed and stand dry all winter – yippee a to-do that doesn’t require doing!

Re-edge your beds which will help tidy up when gardens aren’t in their glory. While you are at it, remove weeds before they go to seed and over-seed bare spots in the lawn.

Shop for bulbs but don’t plant them until about mid-October; at least six weeks before ground-freezing frost is expected. But now is a terrific time to plant most everything else.

Take an inventory and note what’s too crowded, overgrown or not doing well.  That way you’ll have a reminder of what should be moved, removed, divided or renovated next season. A little birdie added fix the laundry room trim, the porch railing, and clean out the basement (compost worms can stay). We’ll call them your honeydew list to keep the garden theme.

Garden dilemmas?



Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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