Frank Watson from the University of Georgia in Athens has offered many suggestions for fall cleanup of gardens in order to have a healthy spring for new crops.
While many crops and even insects will die after a first frost, many disease-causing organisms can survive the winter in diseased plant debris. Iris leaf spot, black spot on rose, tomato early blight, Cercospora leaf spot of ligustrum and apple and crabapple scab can all be prevented by maintaining a healthy garden throughout winter.
Removing debris and fallen leaves in the fall prevents overwintering of vegetable pathogens and insects. Pruning dead or diseased trees or shrubs at least six inches below the diseased area will ensure the diseased tissue has been cut completely off the plant. Composting the debris does not destroy pathogens on diseased plants unless the temperatures reach 110 to 160 degrees. It is best to throw away or burn compost piles if they do not consistently reach the suggested temperatures.
It is important to dispose of any equipment, such as trowels or shovels, known to be used in diseased areas of a garden, so that the disease does not spread to other places in the garden.
Organizations in this story
University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602, United States Athens, GA 30602
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