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Assess your garden. Take advantage of this break in between seasons to assess your garden. What worked or didn't work in your garden this year? Is your perennial bed getting too shady? Do your trees need to be pruned and limbed up to allow more light? How did your lawn fare over the summer? Is your irrigation system functioning properly? Does your soil need to be amended or improved? Staying on top of all the changes in your garden and implementing the appropriate modifications will keep your outdoor space healthy, lush and thriving.
Cut back struggling perennials. Although it may not be time to cut back all perennials, it's safe to prune those plants that have struggled through the summer heat. Use bypass pruners (hand pruners with blades that overlap when they cut) to remove any dead, diseased or dying growth on your perennials. This will give your garden a neater, more tended-to appearance going into fall and will help keep diseases at bay.
Start a compost pile. Choose a fairly sunny site with some dappled shade for your pile, if you are starting a new one. Piles in full sun may dry out too quickly, while piles located in too much shade will stay too wet.
Gather materials to mix:
Layer materials in a pile, moisten it with water and turn all the ingredients to mix them. Continually add to your pile and every week or so moisten and mix to ensure everything is breaking down as quickly as possible.