Summer tasks in the garden

With all the nice weather, the abundance of flowers fills the landscape.

I noticed some trees starting to drop their leaves. Fall is approaching and some of those beautiful plants are getting done with their cycle.

What I like to do is with some spent blooms is to let them go to seed and stay on through the winter. It is food for our feathered friends.

I remember last winter the birds were in search of some food and had a feast with some of the perennials I let go. It was cool to see their little foot prints in the snow.

To begin, look at the plants that just got done blooming. Perennials growing as a clump can be cut by a third.

I like to leave some of the foliage to store up food for next season. When plants turn brown cut them to the base. Trees and shrubs can be prune, as summer is the time to prune anyway.

Thinning is the key here. It is never a good idea to top anything. If you have hedges or if you shear plants, always aim for a wider base and go narrower toward the top. That way the light can be absorbed by the whole plant.

I like to continue pruning through to mid to late September.

Have you made a compost pile or did you want to make one? When the leaves start coming down, bag some up and you can save them for when you need to add some brown material to your green material.

For more info on composting, the Master Gardeners have some great handouts on the subject. I love leaves.

I like to use them in the flower beds to feed plants, suppress weeds, and protect the plants from the cold of winter.

Lawn care tip for the weekIf your lawn is brown or dormant, give your mower a break and change the oil and sharpen the blades. Wear the proper safety attire. Give your lawn an inch of water a week to keep the grass alive.

It will soon be time prepare your lawn for winter and I will go over that soon.

Enjoy the bounty of your labor before the rains come back!

Happy gardening,Gardener Joe

You can reach Gardener Joe at



We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates