Gardening Tips: Late Autumn Do's & Don'ts

Monday, November 14, 2011

The holiday season will soon be here, and of course your garden is all put to bed for the winter, right?  In case it isn’t, here is a checklist of things you can still do – and things that now should wait until spring or next fall.

➢ Do: Weed.  The new young winter weeds are growing enthusiastically.  Pull them now before they bloom and set seed for next year.

➢ Do: Finish cutting back perennial plants

➢ Do: Bring in any house plants that were outside for the summer.  De-bug them; pests that were kept under natural control outside will multiply unbelievably in the warm air of the house.

➢ Do: Use newspaper to cover tender annuals that are still in good condition on the first couple of frosty nights.  You may get a couple more weeks of flowers.

➢ Do: Think about protecting ‘deer candy,’ such as azaleas, with netting or deer repellent.

➢ Do: Plant lilies; this is the right time for them.  It’s a bit late to plant other bulbs, but they will survive and give you some bloom

➢ Do: Plant shrubs and perennials if you didn’t get them in yet.  Their roots will continue to grow as long as soil temperatures are above 40 degrees.

➢ Do: Continue mowing, leaving the clippings on the lawn (free fertilizer!), until it stops growing for the winter, which may be as late as December, but

➢ Don’t: Fertilize or reseed.  The grass can’t use the fertilizer in the cold weather, nor can new seed sprout and develop strength to make it through the winter.

➢ Don’t: Leave weeds or dead plants in your vegetable garden.  They will shelter pests that will haunt you next spring.

➢ Don’t: Worry about watering established plants deeply.   Watering is important in a dry autumn, but this one has been anything but.


By guest blogger, Jessica Milstead. Jessica has been a Charles County Master Gardener since 2002 and is certified to elevate gardens and landscapes for their adherence to Bay-Wise principles.

Graphics provided by Marge LaMar