Dr. Z: Fall Gardening

As we enter the Fall season, a few of the general Fall Gardening tips listed below will help plants survive the transition  from summer to fall to winter successfully.
When leaves begin to drop from diseased shrubs and trees rake them up as soon as possible, bag them, and throw them out.  Do not compost these leaves.  Getting rid of these leaves helps break the cycle of disease.  So it's important not to let these leaves remain at the base of the plant all winter.
It's time to stop feeding roses, however continue spraying them for insects and disease.  The rule is that as long as there are leaves on the rose, they should be sprayed.  Keep on dead heading any old blooms but save any major pruning for early next spring.
Any spent perennials or ones that are severely diseased can be cut down now.  There is no need to wait for a frost.  An example would be a peony covered with powdery mildew. Dispose of these cuttings properly.
Stop feeding most shrubs and trees now.  Feeding now could push out new growth that would not have the time to harden off before winter sets in.  If they need a feeding, consider dormant feeding latter on once the current seasons' growth has stopped.  Potash can be applied now to help shrubs and trees withstand the stresses of winter better.
Call or come visit Dr.Z to have the rest of your gardening questions answered!

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