Garden Chores – Fall Yard Clean Up Tips

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Garden chores offer a great way to sneak in exercise and clean up the yard before winter.

Summer is nearly over and in the cooler parts of the United States, the leaves are preparing for their annual color transformation.

Autumn is upon us and with fall comes garden clean up and yard chores. You can leave the work until spring, but why not take advantage of the cool and dry weather. You’ll be happy you did when you are greeted with a wet and muddy spring come next year.

Following is a list of the top fall chores that will put your garden and yard to rest, leaving you with a blank canvas come spring.

Rake Those Leaves
If you live where the leaves fall, picking them up before winter is a must. Snow and rain cause leaves to become wet, slimy and moldy. This results in more difficult clean up later on and dead grass or dead spots in your lawn in the spring.

Rip Out Annuals
Whether you have a vegetable or flower garden, you’ll want to pull out all the dead annuals. Annuals are plants that live for only a year and do not come back the following year. If you don’t wait too long and you have the space, you can bring annuals indoors to overwinter. You can also bring potted vegetable plants like indeterminate tomato plants indoors to extend the season.

Divide and Cut Back Perennials
Perennial plants are plants that come back each and every year as long as they are given a little TLC. Divide Perennials that have outgrown their space, trim back dead branches and leaves and cut to the ground the perennials that need to be completely cut back. Now is also great time to move any plants that need moving and to prune bushes, trees and shrubs that need it or require fall pruning.

Separate and Plant Spring Bulbs
Dig up and store bulbs that will not survive the winter and plant spring blooming bulbs now. You can also dig up, separate and replant your existing spring blooming bulbs.

Dig Up and Store Root Crops
If you have a vegetable garden and plant root crops, now is the time to prepare your root cellar for the winter. You’ll have carrots, potatoes and other root vegetables well into spring.

Prepare Garden Beds
For Vegetable Gardens
Clear out all dead plant material and weeds. If using green manure, add it to the garden now so that it ages over the winter and early spring. Compost or aged manure can be added now or in the spring. Rake the garden beds and leave until spring or cover with straw or black plastic to prevent early spring weeds.

For Other Garden Beds
Clear out all dead branches and weeds. Mulch and tie plants that need mulching or tying. Cover plants or bushes that need covering.

Take Care of Your Garden and Yard Tools
Fall is a great time to clean and prep your tools for spring. Sharpen lawn mower blades, shears and other tools that need sharpening. Empty and wash pots as well as tools with a mild water and bleach or water and soap solution.  Dry, oil if necessary and store.

These are the major fall chores you should tackle. If you are able to complete all of the above jobs or only a few of them, you’ll be glad you got a head start come spring when you are met with a clean garden after the snow melts.