Be sure to look outside around your house to clear sidewalks and other areas to make way for our soon to come trick or treaters.

It is best to either brown bag your leaves and yard debris to keep it from blowing in the wind. I can speak from experience and tell you it is not fun cleaning up a yard full of leaves twice. Not fun. However, by bagging them up and then taking them to the compost site, you can lessen the mess you will have on your hands as well as keep areas safe for the little goblins that may wander through your lawn in hopes of scoring some candy.

When the leaves are falling, it is also much easier to eye up the actual structure of your trees as well. Maybe you have branches rubbing together that will eventually cause an open wound on one or both trees. When that happens, insects from around the county seem to be able to sense it and find their way to that area to further destruction. If you see some branches rubbing, decide which branch will be best to leave and which branch you can live without and go ahead and trim it back.

Also look for wounds and cracks in trees that may weaken them. They may have survived this far, but give them a heavy snow load and it may just break limbs off that were weaker in the first point. That is what you would want to avoid.

I tend to get a little overzealous when I have pruners or loppers in my hand and feel I need to prune back everything in sight. Resist that urge. You never want to trim back more than a third of a plant, bush or tree. That means do not cut off the equivalent of a third, not only a third of that branch. Remove the entire branch.

When doing so, leave enough of a stub at the trunk so that the tree can form a scar over the cutting. Trees will naturally seal off their areas that have been manually cut, so no need to get out that white paint some people use to seal their trees or even tar. So, put that stuff away. Once finished, you can take those branches and bring them over to the compost pile as well and get them out of the way.

You’ll be thankful when you look out that you managed these tasks before they turn into hazards. Thus, letting you enjoy all the Halloween festivities.


Sacha Burns is an organic gardener and owner of Sunkissed Organics in Pinola. She may be reached at

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