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1400-9 – Fall Clean-up to Prevent Disease   arrow

Fall garden clean-up is an important step to help prevent disease and insect problems next spring. Some organisms (like pathogens and insect eggs) overwinter on plant vegetation.

After a hard freeze, remove plants such as tomato and pepper plants, squash and cucumber vines, and dig potato tubers. Pick up and dispose of fallen apples.

Powdery mildew is generally prevalent on vegetables and herbaceous plants most seasons. Cut back and throw away these plants to reduce infection next spring. If there was pronounced black spot damage on roses, rake and throw away leaves.

It is suggested that infested plants not be composted. Home compost bins rarely reach temperatures that would kill disease (140 degrees F). Instead, throw plants in the trash.

Rake or mulch leaves on the lawn. A thick layer of leaves acts like insulation and can encourage diseases like snow molds.

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