McKay Nursery Company

Fall Landscape Checklist

10/16/2018 2:02 PM

Written by

McKay Staff

in Gardening 101 How-to Guide

Fall is the prime time for many landscape maintenance projects around your yard. Here are some helpful guidelines to follow to make sure your landscape is ready for winter.

1. Fall Maintenance 


You may have noticed needles falling from the interior of your evergreen trees. White pine seems to be very noticeable, as they fall off in a matter of days, but less noticeable are the spruce and fir trees. All evergreens do shed older foliage on the interior of the plant, holding the needles that were formed this year. Newly planted Arborvitae will sometimes look a bit bare this time of year. This is simply because they have not had much time to put on new growth and when the interior of the plant drops, there is less new green growth to see. No need to be concerned, as this is very typical, but PLEASE make sure to keep these plants watered, if possible until the ground freezes. 

2. Pruning


Unless you have any branches that are damaged or broken, hold off on pruning deciduous trees and shrubs until the end of October.  Check out our pruning chart for the plants we grow.

3. Fertilizing


Feel like your tree or shrub just did not grow as vigorously as it should have? Late October is a great time to fertilize those trees and/or shrubs. A good balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10 or similar is a good product to broadcast in the root zone of these plants.

4. Spring Flowering Bulbs


What a great way to accent your early spring landscape with massings of color. Now is the time to get those spring flowering bulbs in the ground. For those of us with rabbits, squirrels and deer - daffodils are the way to go! When laying out bulbs, plant in large massings or drifts. Don't be afraid to go bold for effect or experiment with heights, colors and varieties. Water the bulbs in very well after planting. 

5. Edible Landscaping


Individual garlic cloves should be put in the ground in now. Plant at about 2-3" deep for a great crop in June next year! Now is the time to protect your crabapple and fruit trees from rodents, deer and more. Tree guards and wire wrap are the perfect way to go. Rodents tend to eat the bark, typically at the bottom of the tree, but make sure you wrap high enough, as if we get a lot of snow rodents can reach higher in the tree. Enjoy those apples before they fall off the tree!

6. Perennials


Any perennials that have foliage disease should be cut back to the ground after a good killing frost. Remove any of the diseased leaves from the beds so they do not overwinter and re-infect the plant in spring. We always recommend you leave some perennials and ornamental grasses unpruned until spring. Seed pods, flower heads and incredible fall colors offer an awesome autumn and winter display. Those early soft snows cling to these elements and create a living sculpture in your winter landscape! Check out McKay Nursery's perennials pruning suggestions.

7. Roses


SPRING IS THE BEST TIME TO PRUNE ROSES. For this fall, you certainly can clean up around your roses, but you really should wait until the soil freezes in November to overwinter the plant by mulching. If you're taking our advice by top dressing you mulch, add an extra pile next to each of your roses, so you are ready to mulch them over in November! Don't forget you can treat Endless Summer Hydrangeas the same way.

8. Lawn


Fall is the best time to fertilize. If you only fertilize once a year, now is that time. Shaded turf usually cannot handle high nitrogen fertilizers well, but if apply now, as the leaves fall off the trees your lawn will get more sunlight and begin to thicken up nicely now...and then in spring the fertility remains high and will continue to thicken prior to the leaves unfolding. If the temperatures are still warm enough, you should consider killing off any weeds yet too. That way, you eliminate the spring rush to get rid of the dandelions, as they will be gone. Be sure you continue to mow your lawn, and mow your leaves up as they fall off the trees. Do not allow the leaves to matt, and be sure to cut a bit shorter now and be less attractive to rodents.


Rather not do all this fall maintenance work yourself and enjoy your fall? McKay would love to help you with its landscape maintenance care services. Contact our Maintenance Department today at 800-236-4242 for an estimate and walk through.

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