Rake it. Cut it. Stake it. Bind it. Feed it. Leave ’em alone.
Vail CO, Colorado
Wow, that was quick. It’s probably just me, but the speed at which half that color high in the trees hit the ground caught me in the solar plexus. One moment there’s an autumnal bacchanal going on, and the next morning were cleaning up damp and fading colored confetti scattered on the ground.
So what’s next ” besides the raking? How about cutting all the seed heads off the noxious weeds and thistles growing in your native and naturalized areas and tossing them in the trash. It’s not too late to have an effect on the success of next spring’s weed crop. Check around the guard rails alongside the roads near your property.
Easements alongside privately owned properties tend to harbor noxious weeds.
Leave the wildflowers. However, no one’s going to complain if you pop the seed-laden tops off next year’s target for herbicide sprays. It’s tedious work, but well worth the effort, and it doesn’t take all that much time. I know someone will take issue with that advice. Oh well.
Stake your driveway for snow removal, or have it staked by your property manager. Plan for a larger snow storage area than what you have set aside in the past, and count on some damage to your lawn and plantings if we have the kind of winter we had last year.
Damages are almost inevitable if you haven’t got a well-marked and easily executed plan for snow storage and removal. It’s no secret what I think about the job done by snowplow drivers. They are completely under-appreciated. Plowing snow is an almost impossible job when snow falls day after day. Let’s hope it falls relentlessly. It will be good for us all.
Absolutely, without fail, schedule your irrigation blow out. It’s time. We’ve had a nice rain that will most likely carry us to full dormancy, so put a call in to your irrigation guys. They’ll charge less for the service in the long run if they can schedule your property with no surprises.
Fertilize your lawn. There’s still time to strengthen the root system of your lawn. Last winter weakened many lawns, and they are still recovering, particularly if you’ve had yours over-seeded or sod put down these past warm seasons. Some fertilizer will help the root system gain density and power it to a greater depth.
You may not like the look, but if you’re tired of replacing deciduous trees and shrubs (plants with leaves as opposed to needles) flattened by snow, or having to strategically trim split branches off, tie them up. Once all the leaves have fallen, pull the branches up and in toward the trunk or center and bind them upward with twine. Resist the urge to snug everything up tight, when the branches begin to resist, back off a notch with the tension on the twine. There’s no point in creating damage yourself. Binding up your plantings is an effective way to help plants shed the weight of snow.
If you can resist the urge and don’t mind a little foliar mayhem throughout the winter, pass on cutting back perennials until spring. Research indicates the vast majority of perennial plants survive in greater numbers if they are left uncut through winter.
The cut is a wound that, in the main, is an opportunity for disease to establish itself in the crown of the root system. Leave them alone. Do something productive like watch some football.
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