6 simple things you can do in your yard now to get outside and invest in a beautiful spring

The leaves are gorgeous and going fast. And we know that winter is around the corner. So, our current motto: get outside and enjoy it while we can! Plus, there are some things we do every year to make sure we give our yards and gardens a little TLC before winter.

So, how about 6 simple things you can do to get a little fresh air and exercise, feel a sense of accomplishment and ensure your yard and garden is set up for a beautiful spring:


1. Do a Little Fall Cleaning.

Take a walk of your yard and pull out or prune back dead or diseased branches and plants and dispose of them. You don’t have to cut back green perennials, just dead, diseased and damaged stalks and leaves that provide a place for pests and disease to invade next spring.

Remove foliage that has mildew from plants like peonies, and lightly prune back roses so they won’t break in winter winds. Save the full prune for spring.

Watch the weather and clear out your containers before the first hard freeze. That way you won’t be chipping away frozen fall remnants to add holiday Porch Pot drop ins or your own branches and stems.


2. Amend Your Soil.

By far one of the best things you can do to improve your landscape and garden each year. Top dress landscape and garden areas every fall with a few inches of compost or custom-blended soil amendment to improve texture and drainage and add organic material and nutrients.

You don’t even need to mix or till it in. water and weather will take care of that.


3. Protect your plants before winter.

Indiana winters are unpredictable and hard on plants, especially when we often have multiple freeze/thaw cycles. A fresh 2-3 inch layer of quality hardwood mulch conserves moisture (our plants lose a lot into the air in winter), prevents spring weeds and protects and feeds your plants’ roots with organic material.

Quick tip: don’t mulch right up to the tree trunk, which can invite damage from wildlife and disease.

Have you heard of Wilt Stop? It’s an amazing all-natural (made from pine resin), spray that forms a soft and invisible film over evergreen needles to protect from winter burn. We recommend for large and small evergreens, including fresh evergreen boughs in wreaths, Christmas trees, garlands and porch pots.

Give all of your newly planted trees and shrubs once or twice weekly, deep watering up until the first hard frost.

After leaf drop, we wrap any newly planted young trees with light gray trunks, like red maples, to help prevent cracking. Tree wraps can be removed in the spring.


4. Fertilize Your Lawn + Landscape.

You’ve probably seen people fertilizing their lawn before winter, something we should all be doing, either with an organic fertilizer like Organic Plant Magic, formerly Elements, or a high-nitrogen fertilizer like Fertilome’s Winterizer. It’s a smart investment in a lush and healthy spring lawn.

This summer and fall have been very dry, so adding Organic Plant Magic to your landscape, especially for newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials, will help breakdown clay soil and give plants needed micronutrients.

Acid-loving plants like boxwoods, hollies, red maples, dogwoods and evergreens also benefits from iron applications such as Hi Yield Iron Plus or Soil Sulphur.


5. Put Your Vegetable + Herb Gardens to Bed.

Clean out debris to help prevent pests and disease returning in spring. Add a 2-3 inch layer of compost over your beds to enrich the soil. Precipitation and soil organisms will till it in for you.


6. Bring Tropical Plants Indoors.

Growing Tropical plants in Indiana feels like kind of a treat, doesn’t it? The one caveat? You need to give them extra care as cold weather approaches.

Container grown angel’s trumpet, hibiscus, abutilon, alocasia, bananas, desert rose or tree ferns should be brought indoors to a location away from cold drafts and in high light.

If you’ve planted your Tropicals in the ground, dig them up and pot them in a container for spring relocation. Be sure to spray down containers (we even wash ours with warm, soapy water) and check for pests before bringing them indoors. Or ask us about natural solutions.


Let us know if you have any questions. You can call, email or chat with us online at altums.com. You can also shop in store or online anytime, with pick up in store or curbside.