Clean-up In late fall when the garden looks past its peak, itís time to clean up. You will want to get rid of all dead and dying plant material. Take special care to discard anything that is diseased - put that some place other than your compost heap. Disinfect your pruner and tools with bleach (mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water) after working on diseased plants.
Donít pull out perennials. Cut them back, and add a thick layer of mulch - about 12Ē of leaves. If you choose to leave some uncut for Winter interest, be sure to deadhead those that are invasive so you wonít have as many seedlings to deal with in the Spring.
Late season pruning of clematis is not recommended in areas which experience cold winters. Any unexpected warm spell will encourage new growth which will certainly be killed by the cold spell that follows. So resist the temptation to tidy up the clematis tangles in the fall...wait until Spring.
Dig and store your caladiums, cannas, dahlias, and gladiolas. Let them air dry, then store in dry peat moss in a cool location.
Divide spring flowering perennials such as primrose, Lenten rose, and pulmonaria as soon as the weather cools down so that they have time to establish roots. You can also divide perennials that are overgrown, have diminished bloom, or have formed a ďdoughnutĒ shape with a bare spot in the center of the clump.
Plant Why is fall planting so good for plants?
When perennials are planted in September and October, the warm soil encourages root growth. Roots continue to grow through the winter until the ground freezes. In early spring, roots begin new growth, and top growth begins. While the same plant planted in spring gets a slow start due to cool soils, the fall-planted plants are becoming well established. Hence, the spring-planted plant lags. When summer finally arrives, the fall-planted plant is far better equipped to deal with heat and drought, largely due to its well-established root system.
Fall planted perennials are stronger, more well-established, and can even be more disease resistant.
Bulbs For the best show next spring plant flowering bulbs now so they have time to set some roots. However, if you donít get to it bulbs can still be planted anytime before the ground freezes. The basic rule for planting bulbs is to plant them 2 to 3 times as deep as their height, a little deeper for naturalizing varieties. Plant with the pointy side facing up. If you canít tell which is the rooting side and which is the sprouting side, plant the bulb on its side. It will figure out which way is up!