Ok, I know, Fall is still aways off, but it's not too early to take an assessment of conditions in our landscape. It sometimes takes awhile to achieve all that needs done before the cooler temps actually arrive. Especially if you are an aging gardener such as I am. While you are checking the needs in your landscape is a good time to consider your own capabilities to perform needed tasks. 

Although I am blessed to be able to do most of the chores my land-scape requires, I am finding it wiser to relinquish some chores such as heavy lifting and ladder climbing. With the addition of leaf guards to my gutter (thank you Chris Johnson), at least that ladder chore has been eliminated. With the help of friends with strong backs, my handyman Ken, kind neighbors and a willing son, most of the rest I am able to handle myself. Sometimes asking for help isn't easy for us self-sufficient folks, but God put us here to help one another — so use the help when offered. And don't be reluctant to ask for it also. Our gardens aren't the only things maturing in our lives. 

Now that you've decided what you're able to do or not do, take a walk around your property. Your evaluation should include a look starting up at the top. Do you have trees that need attention before the cold Winter winds blow and ice forms? Power lines are maintained by the companies, but those crossing the yard to your house are your responsibility. Branches overhanging lines can become a threat during high winds and ice storms and should be trimmed back as needed. An evaluation now allows time for that to be accomplished before Winter. 

On a lower scale, look for branches that cross one another, causing damage to the tree. If the tree is young, choose which branch is the straighter, stronger or most pleasing to the shape of the tree, then remove the other one. Check for diseased and dead limbs and remove them also. Be sure to take note of the level of mulch around young trees and add more if needed, being careful not to heap it close to the trunks thereby encouraging pests and disease. Check supports on new trees to be sure they aren't digging into bark. Look for signs of rodent damage and take appropriate measures if seen. 

Evaluate established shrubbery and prune to shape and be sure to remove any dead wood there also. If you choose to shape boxwood shrubbery as I do, plan your final trimming no later than early Fall. That way new growth has time to harden off before any early frosts occur. I find seasonal trimmings work well with one each in Spring, Summer and Fall for boxwood. 

If you have holly shrubbery as I do, they require more frequent trimmings due to rapid growth on shaped forms. I swear I can finish a row only to turn and see new sprouts where I just as well it seems that way anyhow.

A little evaluation and preperation now will ensure that your trees and shrubs (and You) will get the needed care for Fall. 

Happy gardening

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