Don’t close the garden too early

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

I find that by this time of the year, many gardeners are finished and ready to pack up for the season. However, I think it’s too early!

My garden still looks pretty good and has color remaining on the final blooms of the season. My Verbena bonariensis is loaded with painted lady butterflies as well as several others.

Painted ladies also migrate south (though not as far as monarchs) and still need a food source along their way. It’s been fun watching them browse on these warm sunny days.

Other pollinators are also still foraging, gathering carbs for overwintering. Therefore, if you still have flowers in bloom, leave them alone!

It is nearing time to fertilize the lawn for the last time of the season. Research shows that late fall (late November) fertilization leads to a healthier lawn and strong growth in the spring.

If your tender summer blooming bulbs such as Colocasia, Alocasia, Dahlia, Canna, etc. have been hit by frost, you can bring them in and store them now. Be sure to keep them dry and in an area that won’t get below freezing.

Don’t put the hoses away – yet. If you have newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials, be sure to keep them watered until the ground freezes.

My landscape is extremely dry. I planted three trees this past week and dug at least 18 inches deep in the soil. It’s dry. The new roots haven’t been established and will need to remain moist – don’t let them dry out.

And, if it stays dry, water them thoroughly before the ground freezes. I am hoping to get a good saturating rain sometime soon, so I don’t have to keep watering. However, if I stop watering, there will be losses.

It’s a great time to plant bulbs. I am waiting for a big shipment to arrive. We are going to plant hundreds of daffodils and other bulbs at Snyder Park Gardens & Arboretum. It will be beautiful this spring.

Again, if we don’t get a good soaking rain after we plant the bulbs, we will have to water them. They need to be watered in to initiate root growth.

Instead of cleaning up the garden all at once, I do a little at a time. As soon as plants start to look bad, I remove them. I cut perennials back when they no longer provide pollinator services or look good.

I started my pile of leafmould (mentioned last week) and will continue to add to my compost pile as I remove plants.

I also put down preemergent herbicide for those winter annual weeds that are starting to germinate. Be sure to eliminate them first before applying the herbicide.

Oh, and by the way, preemergent herbicide needs watered in as well! I need some rain.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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