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September Sunday Seminar Series: Autumn Clean-up

Prepare yourselves for the “W” word. Winter!

Oh no she didn’t! Yep. While we have SO much to enjoy in the garden this fall (like bulbs and fall flowers), it never hurts to be prepared for colder weather, especially here in Calgary. Don’t worry, the “S” word has no place in today’s blog other than to inform. It’s around this time that we gardeners start eyeing those overnight temperatures a little more, and start observing the inevitable change happening in our own backyards.

Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar on Autumn Clean-up! If you were unable to attend or would like a copy of Colin’s PowerPoint presentation, click here: Golden Acre Home & Garden – Autumn Clean-up

In today’s webinar, Colin covered four aspects of autumn clean-up: Plant protection, lawn care, tool care, and other general tips. Colin mentioned that the following may seem like a lot of work, but it can all be completed in a single afternoon, and the benefits will be long lasting!

Plant Protection
  • Prepping for Winter
    • Clean: Take time to clean up your garden beds.
      • Cut back any plants that are finished for the year.
      • In your beds that house annual flowers and veggies, turn the soil to air it up and remove any weeds you may have missed. You can choose to add compost now or in the spring.
    • Water: Consider watering your perennials, trees, and shrubs well into the autumn season to keep those roots hydrated and healthy going into the winter.
    • Raking: Use a big, flexible rake (Like this one!) to softly gather up the fallen leaves from your trees. A softer rake is less likely to disturb the protective thatch layer in your lawn.
  • Physical Barriers
    • Snow Fence: Allows airflow, prevents snowdrift damage, pest damage, and is lightweight.
      • Note: Careful of the roofball when installing.
    • Burlap: Breathable,durable,versatile,lightweight.
      • Note: Don’t wrap too tight. Air pocket = insulation.
    • Tripod: Breathable, lightweight, and breaks up heavy snow.
    • Area Marking: Prevents damage to lawn and garden beds. Lightweight. Easy installation.
Snow Fence

  • Tying / Staking
    • A good idea for your junipers and cedars to keep those upright branches staying upright and not weighted down by snow to the point of breaking.
    • Running knots are helpful!
    • NOTE: Aim for a looser tie.
  • Mulching
    • Protect tender shrubs and perennials. Really good for roses!
    • Pile fine, shredded mulch about 1/3″ – 1/2″ high. Avoid using soil, compost, or peat moss.
    • You may also consider using leaves, but make sure they are clean to avoid spreading pathogens like Powdery mildew to healthy plants.
Lawn Protection
  • Use a fall fertilizer. We love this one from Alberta’s own Manderley
  • If you need to apply seed to any areas, do this before any snow.
  • Avoid walking on the grass on frosty mornings (Believe me, I know how hard this is because I love hearing the crunch!)
  • Consider installing area markers to protect the grass (especially along driveways) during winter shoveling.
Tool Care
  • Wind down after a busy afternoon with some tool maintenance. No doubt your tools will have accumulated some dirt and dulling.
    • Rakes/Trowels – Clean caked on mud and grass with a wire brush. Wipe away dust and use a rag to dry and buff them.
    • Metal tools – Use vegetable oil and a paintbrush to coat for protection against rust.
    • Wooden tools – Sand wooden handles and wipe for vegetable oil to inject moisture.
    • Power Tools – Drain fuel and start fresh next year. This will extend the life of your tools.
Tips & Tricks
  • Fountains / Birdbaths – drain, cover, move inside, flip upside down
  • Hoses – Remove nozzles, drain, and move inside. Leave all the nozzles and sprinklers in a nearby bucket for ease in the spring.
  • Water – Turn off the water to outside, but leave it accessible in case of a long chinook mid-winter.
  • Supports – Store tomato cages, bamboo stakes, etc inside to avoid damage.
  • Pots – Avoid stacking pots especially terracotta/ceramic. Trust me, it’s just easier on you later due to weathering.
  Now you’re prepared for whatever the upcoming season has in store! Let’s hope it’s a warm and sunny one, though 🙂 Happy gardening, Brandi
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