Autumn clean-up

This is the time of year to clean up the garden in anticipation of winter and a carefree spring.

Fallen harvests attract unwanted pests. Raccoons, mice, insects and fungus take advantage of your plants for food and habitat. Clearing out vegetable gardens reduces the chances of attracting pests.

If you want to encourage wildlife, leave seed pods, berries and rose hips on plants. A water source is also appreciated. Leave ornamental grasses untrimmed until the spring as birds will feast on the seeds.

If plants have any diseases present, throw them in the trash. Many foliage-based diseases can survive the winter in compost bins. Toss out any weeds, such as dock, bindweed and dandelions. These stubborn weeds spread seed or remain dormant, only to resurface in the spring.

Save fallen leaves to use as mulch or to add to the compost pile. Add the last few rounds of grass clippings to the pile, they’ll help add nitrogen.

To prepare your plants for winter, reduce irrigation, but don’t cut it out entirely. Colorado winters can be dry, so give plants 1-2 soakings per month until spring.

Use tree wrap to prevent sunscald on thin-barked trees after late October. Remove wrap in early spring, when budding occurs.