Autumn is a season of beauty and reflection for gardeners. There are a few gardening tasks to prepare for winter and plan ahead for the next gardening season. Fall is a good time to “dig and divide.” It is not too late to dig up mature perennials and divide them into smaller portions to replant around your garden or share with friends.

The trunks of fruit trees may be wrapped with a plastic spiral guard to prevent rodent damage in winter. Mice and rabbits can wreak havoc on young, tender bark. Wrap evergreens with two layers of burlap: one layer to protect against the burning sun as it reflects off snow and another to protect evergreens from wind. This is especially true for cedars, junipers and like, that are on the east side of a road, where they catch the prevailing west wind with salt spray.

Fall fertilizer may be applied late in this month or early November.  Fall lawn fertilizer builds strong lawns in numerous ways, but mostly at the root zone where they need it most this time of year. Fall is the time to plant garlic cloves.  Plant cloves about 4 cm deep and 10 cm apart.  Use loose, open, sandy soil as they like water to drain away from them. Your garlic crop will be ready to harvest next August.

After the first serious frost, dig up your dahlias and lay the ‘bulbs’ (tubers) in the sun to dry for a day or two. Store in a large, craft paper leaf bag with dry peat moss or shredded newspaper in a cool but dry place. Plan to plant them up in March for a repeat performance next season. Do not cut back fall flowering ornamental grasses, coneflower, rudebeckia and all of the autumn flowering plants that produce a seed head. The birds will forage the seeds well past the first snow fall.

For more excellent gardening tips and inspiration, visit Better yet, join us Oct. 20, 7-9pm for our Dunnville Horticultural Society Monthly Program Night. Jeff Bokma from Vermeers Garden Centre, Welland will be speaking on “Houseplants 101.” We meet at the Optimist Hall. Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members alike. Contact Debbie Thomas, President at (905) 774-3064 or Deb Zynomirski, VP at 416-566-9337 if you have questions or comments.

Sandi Marr is the Recording Secretary for the DHS and can be reached at


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