5 Fall Tasks You Really Should Do

Fall gardening usually consists of raking leaves. While that does need to be done (although not perfectly), be sure to accomplish these 5 late autumn tasks.

terra cotta pots

Empty (or partially empty) and protect your pottery for the winter. Glazed ceramic pottery needs room for any water to expand; these should be at least partially emptied of soil. Terra cotta planters will disintegrate if left in a snow bank.

diseased leaves

Remove diseased or infected plant material. Throw away the foliage from plants covered in powdery mildew; roses infected with black spot; and any plants with bad insect infestations. Don’t compost this material unless you are SURE your compost pile gets hot enough to destroy the pathogens. It is really best to just put it in the trash bin.


Add mulch, if necessary. One of the benefits of mulch is an insulation layer for soil and roots. Get a nice, thick layer of mulch on before the soil freezes to keep it warm longer. You don’t need to remove old mulch; you can simply add another layer on top of the old mulch.

tree with tree wrap

Use tree wrap on young trees to prevent sunscald. Young trees have thin bark which can crack in extreme temperature fluctuations, creating an unsightly wound that inhibits the tree’s growth and takes years to heal.

straw mulch

Cover your vegetable garden with leaves, mulch or straw. If you don’t have time to clean up all the debris, just be sure to cover the soil for the winter. Bare soil can become compacted which is nightmarish in the spring.