New gardeners may not know
how to look at their yards in the
fall and, as a result, will
probably not know what they
“see” when they take stock.
Besides feeling overwhelmed
by all the dead plants and wild
new tree growth, new
gardeners may simply not
know where to begin or what to
do. This slideshow aims to
show new gardeners one
person’s effort to take stock
and plan out fall garden prep.
Walk around your yard and collect
any non-organic and non-recyclable
debris. This debris should be
discarded separately from organic
and recyclable debris, so it makes
sense to collect this debris and
throw it out first; then, you won’t
have to carry three different types
of trash receptacles with you as you
move around your yard.
Next, look for simple tasks.
You might want to tackle tasks like
repairing broken fencing or
replacing bluestone, tasks that do
not require a lot of effort and can be
Most flowers and green foliage can
be cut back, that means trimmed to
just above the soil level. Daisies are
one example of flowering plants
that should be cut back in the fall.
Lilies of the field can be cut back
because, like hostas and
daisies, they will reappear next
Day lilies should be cut back, and
doing so can lead to more flowering
the following year.
Any annuals can be cut
back, too, as they only flower for
Vines should be cut back because
the leaves will drop off during the
winter and because they grow back
much heartier next spring when
they are trimmed.
Humus pile and composting.
Collect organic debris as you move
around your yard cutting back
flowers and green foliage. When
you have completed the cutting
back, add the plant “tops” to your
humus pile for composting.
Some foliage should not be cut
Grasses are one example.
If you mistakenly cut back grasses,
it can take a number of years for
them to grow back. These grasses
are still struggling two years later.
Another example of a plant that
should not be cut back.
Cutting back these white plants can
diminish a lush area; only the most
robust plants will survive cutting
back after a winter.
Fall can be a great time to trim and
to shape bushes and trees. This
tree was damaged during
Superstorm Sandy and so has
needed attention to come back. It’s
struggling; however, trimming can
help the tree develop fullness.
Some trees, like this philodendron
benefit from trimming, as it helps to
stave off disease. Diseased trees
can grow oddly and may not flower
Some trees need to fill in, which
might take a few years; after they
do, trimming can help to shape the
tree and to structure future growth.
This tree needs only minor
trimming, mostly for shaping, as the
tree is healthy and full.
These three trees need quite a lot
of trimming and shaping. In cases
like this, it might be best to wait
until the summer to do that work, as
a gardener might not complete the
trimming by the first frost.
Gardeners should not trim trees
after the first frost; doing so will
interfere with new growth.
This tree, too, only requires
trimming for shaping. In the
past, this tree grew out of
control, making it impossible to
open the gate, and it had to be
significantly cut back. At
present, though, the tree is healthy
and, with regular trimming, full and
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