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Prevent disease with fall garden maintenance

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We all know the importance of fall maintenance in the yard and garden. Did you know proper fall maintenance helps prevent disease in the spring? That's right. If you don't properly clean up your garden in the fall, you could be asking for trouble when the snow melts. Here's some steps you can take in the fall to be sure your spring garden has a fresh, disease free start.

Remove all fallen fruit.

Fruit that falls from your trees should not be allowed to rot on the ground. Maintaining fruit trees doesn't stop after the harvest. Not only that, you may have to rake bad fruit up several times throughout the fall. Be sure you remove it periodically. Leaving it sitting allows fruit rot to spread. This causes disease and other issues in the spring.

Practice crop rotation.

Keep pathogens and fungus guessing where you will put their favorite vegetables. Make sure your fall clean up includes planning and preparing the garden area for next year's crop rotations. When garden produce sits in the same place, year after year, disease knows exactly where to find the plants and produce that nourish them best.

Completely remove and bag diseased plants.

Got late blight tomatoes? Get rid of those plants pronto. Don't leave them sitting on the ground all winter. Doing so allows spores to spread throughout your garden. The same holds true for other diseased plants. Remove and bag them, roots and all for disposal as soon as you notice there is a problem.

Never compost diseased plants.

It might seem like a good idea to at least get some use out of diseased vegetables and plants. After all, they didn't produce anything harvest-able. You might be tempted to compost them to get some return on your investment. Don't do it. Disease can spread though compost to infect the plants it's fertilized with. That means next year, you'll lose even more money.

Don't be negligent with your raking.

What's the quickest way to ruin your spring lawn? Let leaves and grass clippings sit on it over the winter. Your lawn needs air, even in winter. If you don't rake up all those leaves and clippings, you're smothering your grass. Not only that, leaf rot and mold may eat away your lawn, leaving bare spots. You're wasting good compost material. That free fertilizer saves you money. Fall maintenance is vital for preventing disease in next year's garden. Have you done yours?

Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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