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Fall Cleanup
November 12, 2018

The weather outside is frightful.

The Great Lakes Region and beyond were greeted with an early dose of winter.

I'll gladly take this over, what California is dealing with, 'Again'.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you.

The first couple of weeks after
'Daylight Saving Time' ending is a challenge.

The evenings get so dark, so quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the extra hour of light on the evening side during spring and summer.

The girls went to the groomer for an overdue, cut and trim.

Another week full of appointments, it never ends around here.

Better to keep busy I suppose.

A 'Great Big Salute' to all of our veterans.

A never ending 'Thank You' for your service.

Without you, we may not be.

I must say, most of the yard work and fall clean up is done for now.

I say for now, because leaf raking will continue when the weather allows, the Bradford pear hasn't dropped just yet.

Roses must be put to bed too.

This week's newsletter deals with fall clean up, and a few tasks you may want to employ.


(Before the snow, a squirrel and chipmunk work side by side.)

Fall really is the best time to get your gardens prepped for next year.

Not only are you putting plants to bed for winter, but you are preparing gardens for spring and planting too.

All the work you do now (mulch, compost, turning over soil etc.) puts you Giant steps ahead of your neighbors come spring time.

What you don't have to be is a neat freak.

leaves and twigs covering the beds, mowed into the lawn, etc. are good things all the way around.

Now is also a time to clean up and get your tools ready for a long winter's nap.

Here is a small list of fall chores to consider.

(Bag of leaves protecting Black and Blue Salvia.)

1.Enrich garden beds with compost or manure.

If you can work it in, all the better by next spring.

2.Collect dried seed from open pollinated flowers & veggies if you plan on planting some of them.

Remember, hybrids will not be the same as the plant you picked them from. Sometimes there is a big difference.

3.Clean bird feeders to get them ready for use.

This should be done on a regular basis, not just as a fall chore.

The same goes for your birdbath and other water sources.

4.Gather herbs, seed heads and flowers for drying.

5.Clean out cold frames for winter use, if you have them.

(The turkeys are back, a total of eight Toms have been visiting this past week.)

6.Cover water gardens with netting to keep the falling leaves out.

Clean pumps and prepare water plants for winter.

Some plants aren't buried and need to be protected where water and ground freeze.

7.Keep trees and shrubs well watered until the ground freezes.

Even if the leaves have fallen the roots continue to grow untilthe ground freezes.

This is especially important for new plantings.

A new planting is anything less than a year, two years for trees.

Evergreens really need water as moisture continues to evaporate from the foliage.

You may need to wrap them with burlap or spray an an 'Anti-Desiccant' (like "Wilt Proof") on your broad leafed evergreens to aid in moisture retention.

(Bags of leaves protecting Argentina skies salvia and newly planted Crocosmia bulbs.)

8.Cut back diseased perennials and remove all foliage.

Some plants may need to be removed and trashed.

Do not compost this material.

Diseases and fungus winter over and when you use your compost material, you are spreading the diseases.

Sometimes you may think about letting old stalks winter over, or I'm letting the birds have the seed.

Sick foliage and canes need to be removed and trashed.

Diseases and fungus survive, they have for thousands of years.

You can minimize the damage and spread by removing the sick materials.

That means your tall phlox with powdery mildew or your maple leaves that have tar spot.


Use Bypass pruning shears, Anvil cutters will smash, not cut.

Healthy leaf litter remains.

(Female Hairy Woodpecker.)

9.Clean, sand and oil garden tools before storing them for the winter.

A healthy tool now will be ready when you are for next spring.

10.Take cuttings of your favorites.

Some for the blooms to enjoy a few day more and some to root for a new planting next spring.

Too late for up here, but my warm climate friends understand.

11. Zones 3-7, you need to get roses prepped for winter this month, this includes winter protection for some of you.

Zones 7-9, plant new trees, shrubs and flowers, or continue to transplant while the soil is still warm enough to allow for root growth.

Zones 9-11, this is a nice time to plant annuals for winter color. Don't forget a few veggies as well.

(Male Red-Breasted Nuthatch.)

Rakes leaves, snag your neighbors, but get some leaves in your gardens and beds.

Leaves make great insulation and mulch.

Leaves and litter offer hiding places for insects that feed the birds, and countless other benefits.

Fall bulbs for spring flowers can be planted up until the ground if frozen solid.

This is also a good time to think about relocating your feeders and birdbaths if you live in the snow belt.

you can place some feeders closer to your home, it will be less work for you to go out on a cold or snowy day to feed

the birds.

Keeping a water source from freezing requires electricity.

See if you can hook up a bath near your home, yet close to protection.

This is a convenience for you and for your birds.

Are you knew to feeding birds?

Maybe you've been feeding for years.

Here is a page on feeder location that should give you some general ideas.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Faith goes beyond reason.

It goes beyond what you can see.

But it is as real as anything you can touch or feel".

Henry Cloud

Do you believe?

God's word.

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God".

Romans 10:17 

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind".

James 1:6

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,

We borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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