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Tackle Fall Clean Up
November 07, 2011

Losing that hour of daylight on the evening side of things is a bit difficult.

For the next week or so, I will be adjusting to 5:30 sunsets.

The pictures this week are from local trees.

Yes, many are in full color.

The oranges and reds from the maples (Acer spp.) have been outstanding this year.

The yellow trees in the field are a stand of Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) in a nearby field.

The Canada geese and maple are a view from the deck, also taken this past week.

Geese populations seem to have increased around here, as families have formed flock sized units.

Many geese will remain until they lose open water and food.

Where they can find open water, geese and ducks often remain.

While the Red-winged blackbirds are headed south, American robins abound.

Yes, every where I look, I seem to see robins.

If anyone is interested in a few dozen House sparrows, please let me know, as they are the dominant feeder bird right now.

This past week did offer up a couple of 60+ degree days and plenty of sunshine to go with.

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, and the roses must be put to bed.

I still have to wait for bags of leaves to insulate my tender perennials with as well.

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


Fall really is the best to get your gardens prepped.

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.

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.

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.

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

Clean pumps and prepare water plants for winter.

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

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

This is especially important for new plantings.

A new planting is anything less than a year.

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.

8. Cut back diseased perennials and remove all foliage.

Do not compost this material.

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

Sometimes I hear 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.


Healthy leaf litter remains.

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

A healthy tool now will be ready when you are 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.

11. Zones 3-7, 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.

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, author

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

Romans 10:17 (KJV)

"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

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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