Fall Maintenance Tips For Shrubs And Plants

The leaves are changing and winter is just around the corner. It's time to do some fall maintenance on your shrubs and plants. The cold season is when the roots really develop as they seek nutrients from the ground to sustain them over the winter. By doing some work now, you can see better plant and shrub production in the spring.

Prune for Safety

Many people are tempted to prune their shrubs as soon as it gets chilly out. Since pruning encourages shrubs to grow, fall isn't a good time to prune your shrubs, with the exception of pruning for safety. If your shrubs have a lot of dead branches on them, prune those close to the stem. Only prune them if they can do damage to something else by getting heavy with snow and breaking off. Otherwise, wait until it's full winter or spring to prune.

Plant Shrubs, Bulbs, and Tubers

Since fall is the time of the year when roots really develop, now is a great time to plant your new shrubs, tubers, and bulbs. If you want to separate bulbs and tubers you already have planted, now is the time to do that as well, with the exception of plants that flower in the summer. Those tubers and bulbs should be put in the ground after the last frost of the season.

  • Plant tubers and bulbs so the roots are fully immersed and have plenty of room to spread. Once planted, fill the hole with water and soil. Cover with a thin layer of mulch.
  • When planting shrubs, you don't want to fully immerse the root ball. Leave a couple of inches of the root ball above the ground. Otherwise, plant the shrub as you would a tuber or bulb, filling the hole with water and soil. When it comes to the top couple of inches of the root ball, cover them with soil and/or mulch, but do not pack it down.

Maintain Annuals and Perennials

To keep your plants in the best shape, you need to tend to them before winter.

  • After saving the seeds from your annuals so you can plant them next year, pull the plants up. This will prevent unnecessary bug and slug infestation.
  • Cut your perennials back. The leaves and flowers aren't flourishing over the winter so there is no need for the plant to waste energy maintaining them. This is the time to encourage root development by helping the plant to devote all its energy to them.

If you repeat this process every year as part of your normal fall landscape maintenance, your plants will flourish as their roots develop over the winter. Don't forget to tend to your summer bloomers after winter is over! If you have any questions, contact a local landscaping professional like Chamley Landscape.