Leave Your Autumn Garden Alone

There’s a lot of information out there, including on this site with a list of gardening tasks to complete in a particular month or ahead of a particular season. And while there’s always work you can do now to make your life easier in the future, some gardening experts say that when it comes to pre-winter cleaning, less is more. Here’s what you need to know.

Reasons for Not Interfering with Fall Gardening

The reason for doing minimal fall gardening work is similar to the one behind No Mow May and the bee lawn : observing native birds and pollinators. Firstly, this is due to the fact that the seed heads of some perennials are a source of food for birds in winter.

And in general, garden material and leaf piles provide winter habitat for several species of bees, butterflies and other pollinators, Erin Buchholz, integrated pest management specialist at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, explains in an interview with the Star Tribune . In addition, some pollinators lay their eggs in hollow stems found in abandoned gardens.

Finally, the decaying leaves act as an insulating natural mulch (which also happens to be free) that helps keep your plants warm from the cold. And when the leaves fall completely, they nourish your soil.

Garden Jobs You Still Have to Do This Fall

According to Buchholz , even if you’ve decided to get involved in this low-maintenance type of fall gardening, there are still a few things you need to do before winter. They are:

  • Pull/remove all diseased annuals and perennials
  • Harvest vegetables after they are out of production for the season (some varieties tend to be disease prone)
  • Rake or blow leaves from other parts of the yard onto the beds. Then use a hose to soak the leaves completely. (This will keep them from blowing away and help keep the soil and everything underneath moist before winter.)

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