to complete their final projects and think about putting their garden to bed for the winter. Here are some recommendations from the professionals at Summit Landscaping.
1. Keep your hose handy. Fall in the High Country is typically a dry time. Until the ground freezes in mid-October, your garden, shrubs, trees and lawn still need water. Failure to keep your garden watered in the fall can lead to root damage that affects the health of the entire plant. Trees and shrubs need adequate moisture stored in their roots to survive the winter. If Mother Nature is not providing us with rain or snow, you should water once a week through the fall. Do not water if the air and soil temperatures are below 40 degrees F. Try to water in the middle of the day so the water has time to soak in before freezing at night. Remember to disconnect your hose after each use to prevent damage. Once there is snow on the ground, you can put your hose away for the winter.
2. Clean up any dead plant material in your yard. Voles, diseases and fungus thrive in a habitat of decaying materials. Raking up leaves and grass helps remove the environment where these pests flourish.
3. Avoid major pruning in the fall. Evergreens should never be pruned in the fall, and deciduous trees should only be thinned after they have dropped their leaves for the year.
4. Cut back perennials. Most perennials will let you know when they have stopped growing and are going dormant for the winter by turning brown. When this happens, you know it is safe to cut their stems to ground level. Spreading a layer of mulch or compost around your perennials helps insulate them, and compost insures they will have plenty of nutrients in the spring when the snow melts away.
5. Fertilize your lawn. A high nitrogen fertilizer applied in the fall will be a great benefit to your lawn. Be sure to apply it before your lawn turns brown.
6. Perennials, shrubs and trees all love the insulation of a layer of mulch. Wood chips, weed-free straw and pine boughs all offer protection from sudden temperature changes. Snow is the best insulator of all, so pile it onto your garden when you are shoveling this winter.
7. Sow wildflower seed. Fall is the best time to put down seed - ideally before the ground is frozen in late October. You do not want the seeds to germinate until spring, so wait until the temperatures aren't getting above 50 degrees. We have many types of wildflower seed and specific directions for getting them to germinate.
Courtesy of Summit Landscaping, a full-service garden center and landscaping company at 1925 Airport Rd. in Breckenridge. Contact them at (970) 453-1039 or summitlandscapingofbreck.com.