Apart from a reminder to plant your spring flowering bulbs which is not one of the actual tips, this article by Ron Wolford covers the main matters that require attention at this time of year. Get ready for frost is top of Ron’s list and then he goes on to offer tips on perennials, lawn repair and composting. The Plus One takes you indoors to Prepare Amaryllis for Flowering.
Cool, crisp weather has finally arrived after a very hot, humid and wet summer, said Ron Wolford, U of I Extension horticulturist.
?Planting bulbs is probably the number one garden activity that takes place in the fall, but there is a number of other gardening and fall related activities to do,? said Wolford, who provided some tips for other tasks.
Get Ready for Frost
?Get ready for frost,? he said. ?On average our first fall frost occurs around October 15, but we have had frost in September. First frosts usually occur when cool weather arrives with clear nights and light winds.
?Open grassy areas are most likely to have frost versus areas under trees that are protected because the trees keep heat from escaping. Plantings close to the foundation of your home often survive a first frost because of the heat given off from house. To protect plants cover them with blankets, newspaper, straw, sheets, tarps, boxes, or plastic sheeting. Apply the covers later in the afternoon and remove them in the morning. Floating row covers can also protect plants. This spun polyester material will raise the temperature two to five degrees F around the plants.?
Plant a Green Manure Crop
Green manure crops include clover, annual ryegrass, winter wheat, winter rye and buckwheat. Green manure crops turned into the soil in the spring will improve soil structure and will add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Sow the seed thickly. Keep moist until germination occurs. Cut back plants that flower to prevent self-seeding. In early spring turn the green manure into the soil.
?Transplant and divide perennials now,? Wolford recommended. ?If you are planning to transplant established plants, cut them back by half and move to a prepared spot. Keep watered until the plant is established.
?Divide perennials when flowers get smaller, when the center of the plant dies out or when the plant just gets too big. All transplanting and dividing should be completed by October 1 to allow good root development before cold weather sets in.?