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Fall Shrub Care

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Fall is the time to prepare shrubs for the upcoming winter. You can also plant now, using the cool temperatures and rainfall to your advantage.

Planting

The cooler temperatures and rainfall make this a great time for planting most of your shrubs. Add a layer of leaf or bark mulch (though not right against the bark!) to help insulate against winter temperature changes.

Watering

Rainfall will often take care of your shrubs' watering needs. Watch for signs of wilting. The ground water supply will be locked up when the ground freezes, so check to make sure they are doing well now.

Fertilizing

Always test your soil if you think you have a nutrient deficiency. Be careful fertilizing with nitrogen now - this will produce new growth that may be damaged by winter frosts. Spring fertilizing may be a better idea.

Pruning

Fall is a good time to remove branches that may be growing directions that you do not like. However, proceed with caution in spring flowering shrubs - their flower buds for next spring are already formed, and too much pruning may destroy next year's floral display. Thin instead of shearing.

Winterizing Your Shrubs

There are several ways that you can protect your shrubs against the upcoming cold.

  • Build a shrub shelter

  • Mulch around the base, though not right up to the bark (this will collect moisture, inviting fungus and diseases)

  • Use an anti-desiccant on evergreen shrubs

  • Put up a barrier around shrubs near the road to avoid salt spray

Fruits to Harvest

  • Blackberries
  • Elderberries
  • Lingonberries
  • Raspberries
  • Quince
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