Studio G News
Maintaining Meadow Gardens in the Fall
- October 10, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Plant News
Meadow Gardens have become one of the latest trends in the American landscape. Where a manicured lawn was once the pride of home ownership, meadow gardens with drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, and pollinator-attracting plants have captured the spotlight. While these gardens may require less maintenance, some routine care especially in the fall will keep them looking great throughout the seasons.
As with any type of garden planting,think through your goals concerning aesthetics, ecology, and maintenance. Here are a few suggestions as you plan for the fall clean-up:
Aesthetics–Dried grasses and seed heads provide interest in the winter landscape. Some plants develop woody stems in the growing season and remain upright in winter. Other plants and grasses look unkempt as winter progresses.
Recommendations:Choose sturdier plants and grasses to retain for winter interest. Cut back those less-sturdy.Keep notes for next year.
Attracting winter birds –Dried seed heads and dry grasses provide food and cover for winter birds. But leaving those seed heads may produce more plants next year – either appreciated or unwanted!
Recommendations:If you leave seed heads in the meadow during the winter, make notes about which plants and grasses were most and least attractive. Take a look in the spring as plants are emerging– are some plants now crowding out others?
Sight-lines –You may want a change of scenery in your winter landscape. Perhaps other plants and shrubs need to take center stage at this time of year.
Recommendations:Do a more aggressive fall clean-up of your meadow if you desire a cleaner look. Cut back those seed heads and save them for your bird feeder so that the birds don’t lose out on this winter food source.
Weed control and plant health –An aggressive cut-back of your meadow in the fall allows you to view weeds and unwanted plants. Dead plant material and debris left in a garden can harbor over-wintering pests and diseases.
Recommendations:Remove weeds and other invasives now for easier spring maintenance. Cutting back and discarding dead plant material will help to minimize insect and disease problems next year.
Francesca A. Holinko is a 2nd year student in the School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden
Images Taken at Forest Edge Gardens - Black Forest, Colorado