Lower South

November, 2008
Regional Report

Tidy Up The Garden Now For Spring

Late fall is a good time to tidy up the garden, removing all annuals that have completed their life cycle. Remove the tops of all herbaceous perennials as soon as frost kills them back to the ground. Apply mulch wherever it is getting thin to deter cool-season weeds from germinating.

Prepare Beds for Late-Winter Rose Planting

It's not too early to start preparing beds for rose planting in January and February. Mix in 3 or 4 inches of composted manure or pine bark into the soil and build slightly raised planting beds to improve drainage. This way the soil will be settled and ready at planting time, no matter the weather.

Put Perennial Flowers to Bed

Cut perennials back to a few inches above the soil line after a hard freeze or two burns them back. Then mulch the area well to deter winter weeds and protect the crown and roots from very cold weather. Marginally hardy perennials can often be protected through an otherwise killing winter season with a thick layer of mulch to protect them.

Give Fruit Trees a Fall Clean Up

Pick off and throw away any fruit that is shriveled and hanging on the tree or laying on the ground. These "mummies" are most likely diseased fruit that will produce spores to infect next years crop in spring or summer. Wait to do any significant pruning until late winter. Studies have shown that pruning fruit trees in the fall can cause them to bloom earlier in the spring.

Prepare Power Equipment for Winter Storage

Mowing season is behind us at last. Drain gasoline form mowers, gas edgers, and other power tools and run the engine until fuel in the carburetor is used up. Then they are ready to go into winter storage. That way they'll be in top shape when spring arrives and they are called up for service once again.

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