Week 31 – Garden Tools for Fall Clean Up

No camera truck again so we were at the station this week.  We showcased and discussed garden clean up you need to do now for Fall.  Tools included rakes, loppers, leaf bags, leaf scoopers, snow gauges, rose collars, hose pots and for indoors, products to control fungus gnats.

If you have leaves in your garden just leave them there (no pun intended).  Leaves are good mulch for the winter and will enrich the soil when they break down.  If you have leaves you must rake up because there are just too many or all over the lawn there are some great tools you can use to take them up and use them for mulch or compost.  Make a leaf pile and let the leaves mold and in the Spring you’ll have a great leaf compost.  If you’re afraid they’ll blow away you can fence them off or use a container.  We had two rakes, one with an extendable handle, and one that has an extendable head for small tight spaces and expands out to a full size rake for large areas.  We had a reusable bag that expands for use and then squishes down to a flat circle for storage.  We had some funky leaf scoops that look like cymbals with teeth to scoop up leaves and put them in the bag.  Remember to jump in the leaves before putting them in the bag!  Yard work should be fun.

It’s not the time to trim anything right now but a good pair of loppers is good to have on hand to clip off any dead limbs or limbs broken due to heavy snow or storms.  Spring is the right time to prune and trim. Remember to leave your perennials so when they break down it will enrich the soil for next year.  Pruning now could cause more harm than good.  Many bushes will not bloom the next year if pruned now so put those pruners and loppers away until Spring.  Make sure you know what type of bushes and trees you have and research when it’s a good time to prune them.  Roses are pruned in the Spring.  Pruning encourages growth and it’s not time for that right now.

Rose collars are available for your roses. Put the collar around the base of the rose and put some leaves or mulch inside the collar to protect the rose during the winter.  You can also use some chicken wire or anything that would be strong enough to stay the winter.  I have never used the collar and have never had a problem with my roses not coming back after winter  but I only have floribunda everblooming roses.  If you have other rose varieties such as tea roses, the collars are a good idea..  In Colorado it’s critical to plant the rose the proper depth.  If you have done that you shouldn’t have any problems but to be sure you can always use the collars.

We had a couple of decorative items for the garden.  We had a cute snow gauge stake that has snowflakes that spin in the wind.  We also had a gorgeous copper hose pot that I’m coveting.  Hose pots are nice as they keep your hose out of the winter elements but you can still have it outside for those winter waterings that are critical in Colorado.

We also discussed fungus gnats.  They look like little fruit flies flying around the plant.  In the winter house plants do not need as much water as usual and soggy soil means the gnats will come.  Overwatering causes root rot because the roots are sitting in water.  Fungus gnats live in the soil so you really can’t treat the plant.  There are a couple of products you can use in the soil or you can get pest strips.  Try letting the plant completely dry out before watering again.  Use a moisture meter to make sure you are not watering too much.  Fungus gnats don’t come with your plants when you buy them.  It’s just a matter of too much water, so let the plant completely dry out, cut back on the water and use a moisture meter.  If you keep overwatering and have severe root rot your plant is going to die and that’s another way to get rid of the fungus gnats.

Patio plants and anything you want to winter over should be inside by now.  Here’s some pictures of Rob’s house.  Plants will still be distributed throughout the house but most will stay where they are for the winter.  It’s a jungle in there.

So far, so fun!!

To check out this weeks video and see demonstrations of these tools, visit:  http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=297273

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About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
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