Fall is a good time for a garden clean-up
As temperatures cool and daylight hours decline, plant growth tends to slow. In addition to being an excellent planting season in our Mediterranean climate, fall is also a good time to clean up our gardens so that they’re healthy and fire-smart. So…where to start?
Gather your supplies
- Pruning tools and disinfectants to clean your tools.
- Separate containers to hold material for the compost, diseased plants, leaves, roots, and stems for the landfill.
- Pots for cuttings to propagate.
- Pick and discard old fruit still clinging to the tree as well as fallen fruit. It can spread disease in the garden and attract undesirable wildlife.
- Thoroughly clean your vegetable garden. Save seeds for next year’s crops, remove diseased material, and compost the rest.
- Remove diseased leaves, season-ending annuals, leaves and stems of summer blooming perennials, and other garden clutter.
- Take special care around roses, camellias, and fuchsias, all of which can harbor undesirable larvae, pests, and disease.
- Use your landfill container for plant debris located under and around plants that may be infected with disease or other pests.
- Clean and store unused pots and containers that might offer desirable hiding places for snails, slugs, insects, spiders, and rodents.
- Disinfect garden trellises, tomato cages, posts, and other plant supports to prevent diseases from over-wintering.
- Clean the various clips and ties used to train and support vines.
- Wash your garden gloves.
- Remove soil from your garden tools and clean them with a disinfectant or a 10% bleach solution. Apply a light coat of oil to prevent rusting if you are retiring the tools until spring.
Check irrigation system
- Run through each zone of your drip irrigation system to check for leaks or other problems. Although you probably won’t be watering much during the colder months, it’s a great time to get your system in good shape for spring and summer.
Prune and shape
- Prune summer flowering shrubs. Remove dead flowers and prune to control the size and shape of the plant.
- Cut back herbaceous spring and summer blooming perennials to encourage spring growth.
- Learn more about pruning.
- Pull weeds before they set seed that will spread to other parts of your garden.