Three Things to Do in Fall

There’still time, yes. And there’s never time in spring, so let’s get this done.
Recalling that we DO want things to grow in most places, take some steps now to work for that transition…. moving away from invasive species and favoring an assortment of natives. While the ground is cold and wet, go ahead and install some desired plantings. I get great survival with installations in the fall, but watch out for dry spells. Put in a couple small saplings or shrubs, mulch them well, and they’ll have a good start on adjusting to the new space. Sprinkle wildflower seeds as well; I often just “dispose” of my old seed heads from black-eyed susan and bee balm by placing them in a spot that needs a little help. You’ll get a burst of plants in a year or two… be patient, and make sure you notice them when they emerge. Then you can avoid the inadvertent stomp.

Next task… if you have an area where smothering would help you in holding a line or suppressing a dense spot, think about placing sheets of cardboard. Cardboard is great, it lasts about two years, and if placed in the fall it gets locked in to the ground by rain and snow. Pretty effective, and you can always throw on some more sheets. I won’t say it’s attractive (although I’ve seen some pretty energized attempts to alter that), but I really like using a line of cardboard to keep poison ivy and other vines from creeping out toward sunlight. No, I don’t actively manage poison ivy, but when it’s up over the knees and crazy-dense, some level of control is necessary to access the other target species. So be it.

Final task for fall is to be cautious with the above two tasks. Realize as you plant and thrash around with cardboard that you are likely in a contaminated space. Wild parsnip, wild chervil, and purple loosestrife crank out thousands of seeds. They are in the soil or still hanging there on the seed head, waiting to drop down into your boots. It’s perfectly useful to throw seed heads into a bucket and dispose of them. Why let them germinate later? I actually stay out of places where I know purple loosestrife to be; it’s very difficult to avoid picking up loosestrife seed. But other seed heads like parsnip go right into the bucket and then to the campfire. Be careful, at this time of year dead stalks almost seem to be spring-loaded and seeds are just expert at getting around. You won’t get them all, but you’ll help yourself greatly, and you’ll remember the space well when you return in spring. The numbers will be much less overwhelming. Well done!

About choosewiselyvt

Working the great outdoors in central New England. Brilliant fun to be on the land and to meet great people while steadily rehabilitating natural systems.
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1 Response to Three Things to Do in Fall

  1. Victoria Weber says:

    Nicely done, Mike.  Good points.    I have dug some chervil and garlic mustard plants in the past month.   And I am spotting more that need my attention. 

    The burning bush along Waterman Road, all the way from the transfer station to the old chicken farm that has the planted shrubs and down the hillside too.    Impressive.   I once stopped and asked the new owner to do something about them, and he said he had it =under control.  Then Fall came and You could wee them all….  

    Cheers— Victoria

    From: Got Weeds? Reply-To: Got Weeds? Date: Monday, November 6, 2017 at 12:03 PM To: Victoria Weber Subject: [New post] Three Things to Do in Fall

    choosewiselyvt posted: “There’still time, yes. And there’s never time in spring, so let’s get this done. Recalling that we DO want things to grow in most places, take some steps now to work for that transition…. moving away from invasive species and favoring an assortment of”

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