Autumn in Georgia abounds with fresh flowers, new grass, and a variety of opportunities to update home landscapes. October has the perfect weather for new plant growth. Warm, sunny days and cool evenings tells plants it’s almost – but not quite – time for winter hibernation. Plants prepare for dormancy by redirecting nutrients from their leaves to their roots, resulting in thick sod, firmly rooted flowers, and the brilliant displays of red and gold foliage that mark the fall season. But dangers to healthy gardens lurk in every toolshed. Before diving into autumn landscaping, make sure you know how to avoid these common fall landscaping mistakes.

Too Much Fertilizer

bags of fertlizierWhile it’s true that fall fertilizing makes spring blooms healthier, lusher, and more bountiful, many homeowners over-fertilize, which stimulates excessive plant growth. Before fertilizing your fall garden, test the pH in the soil. Buy a phosphorus, nitrogen, or potassium-rich fertilizer based on the needs of the soil. If you’re not sure how much to add, ask an expert. Over-fertilizing fall soil tells plants it’s time to grow. Too much fertilizer – especially in October or November – jumpstarts growth as the temperature drops, leaving the garden vulnerable to frost and cold.

Fall Pruning

A few Georgia plants require fall pruning, but most need pruning right before or right after blooming. Like late autumn fertilizing, pruning in the fall tricks plants into rapid growth, leaving them susceptible to winter weather. January and February is the ideal pruning season for most trees and woody plants. Prune summer-blooming trees like crepe myrtles just after they lose their flowers, typically in late summer or early fall. If you’re not sure when to prune a plant in your garden, ask an expert before picking up the pruning shears.

Do you want to cultivate a rich, earthy escape in your backyard? Stop by Autumn Hill Nursery to get the plants, tools, and education necessary to grow the garden of your dreams.

photo from flickr

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