Fall Gardening – Environmental Commission Tip of the Month – October 2017

Once again, summer has passed and the cooler days are upon us. With this comes the die off of the perennials that populate our yards and the lush habitat that our friendly outdoor critters enjoy.

As we look out at the browning gardens, we immediately think about lopping, trimming, and cutting back all the dead flora.
Actually, much of this flora provides seeds, nourishment, and habitat for the wildlife through the cold season. Here are some examples of things you can do in your gardens and yards to promote a friendly environment for our winter wildlife:

Birds enjoy the seed heads of many plants including Black Eyed Susan, Purple Cone flowers, Asters, Goldenrod, and ornamental grasses. Ideally, these seed heads should be left in place until the spring.

The stalks of many plants can provided shelter for native bees and beneficial insects. Generally, it is the queen bee that survives the winter, but only if she has the proper accommodations. The insects can keep unwanted pests under control. Let the stalks and plant debris remain.

Letting the seaon’s growth hang around for the winter and breakdown via rain, snow, wind, and harsh elements will ultimately nourish the soil from which this growth came.
Additionally, the last lawn cut of the season should allow for a higher cut. This will help enable the grass blades to absorb more nourishment for the root system during the winter.

If you haven’t done so already, put the pruning sheers away for the season. Most plants that are pruned this late in the season might generate new growth, which will then die off and possibly hurt or kill the plant.

Most importantly, take a few minutes each day to walk around gardens and foliated areas in your vicinity, and appreciate and revel in the joy of nature at work and wonder about how you can do the right thing to nurture it.

A nice resource for gardening tips is
www.youbetyourgarden.org

Happy Gardening