Local Gardening Tips


Fall Planting

  • Continue to set out spring flowering bulbs: daffodils, Dutch iris, freesia, anemone, oxalis, ranunculus, watsonia, hyacinth, crocus and tulips
  • Continue planting cool season annuals: pansy, viola, snapdragon, stock, calendula, Iceland poppies and California poppies
  • Continue planting cool-season vegetables: beets, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi, chives, collards, celery, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach, lettuce, turnips, and Swiss chard
  • Use cold frames to over winter cuttings of trees and shrubs and perennial seedlings started in mid- to late summer. Bulbs prepared for forcing also can be stored in cold frames until time to take them indoors.
  • Plant hardy annuals such as cleome and larkspur for flowering plants next spring
  • Madonna and regal lilies should not be planted any later than the end of September
  • Time to plant Ranunculus. Set tubers “feet first” about 2 inches (5 cm) deep into the soil and 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) apart. Water in deeply. Don’t water again, unless it gets hot and dry, until green growth starts to show in one to two weeks
  • Plant garlic scar end down in rich well drained soil. If you plant regular garlic, cover with 2 inches (5 cm) of soil, use 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) of soil if planting elephant garlic

Fall Maintenance

  • Dig, divide, re-plant overcrowded perennials that have finished flowering. Daylily, agapanthus, penstemon, yarrow, coreopsis, alstromeria, Shasta daisy, lamb's ears
  • Plant late-season perennials or move and rearrange old one to improve your planting plan.  Group plants according to water needs as well as sun requirements
  • Start cutting cool-season grasses higher, leaving about 4 inches
  • Cut peonies down to the ground to prevent botrytis disease and discard foliage
  • Leave dahlias in the ground until a frost has blackened the leaves.  Then dig and store them in peat moss
  • Put ground agricultural limestone on the soil around lilacs
  • Gather leaves for composting.  Mix green and dry materials and dry materials and alternate with thin layers of soil to compost for more rapid decompositions
  • Summer’s tomatoes are finishing up.  Some gardeners pick the leaves off the tomato plants to expose the tomatoes to a bit more sun.  Cover if an early frost should happen.
  • Start or repair cool-season lawns. Overseed warm season lawns with cool season grass. Feed cool season lawns to support their growth in the fall
  • Feed new flower and vegetable plants with liquid fertilizer two weeks after planting them
  • Continue to pick up fallen, decomposing fruit that could harbor insects and pests
  • Cacti and other succulents, such as jade plants and sedums, do best in a sunny south or west window during the winter. They can tolerate cool temperatures, but you may want to move more-tender foliage plants away from cold windows.
  • House plant growth slows as the days get shorter and light intensity is reduced. This means that they will need less frequent watering and fertilizing until next spring. Too much of either in the winter months can cause weak growth.
  • Don't allow leaves to accumulate on the lawn. Rake them up regularly, and store in a pile for use as mulch in your garden next summer. If leaves accumulate on your lawn and become matted down by rain, they may kill the grass.
  • You can help leaves break down more easily by running a lawn mover back and forth over the pile. Put the shredded leaves directly onto the garden or compost pile.
  • Autumn is a good time for improving your garden soil. Add manure, compost, and leaves to increase the organic matter content. Before adding lime to your soil, have your soil tested to determine if your soil is acidic and needs lime.
  • Late-fall tilling can help control insects, such as corn borer, corn earworm, cucumber beetle, squash bug, and vine borer, because it exposes overwintering insects to winter conditions. It also makes spring soil preparation easier.
  • Mulches applied too early can do more harm than good. A mulch is used to keep soil temperatures constant and prevent frost heaving, not keep it warm. Therefore, it is best not to mulch until the soil temperature has reached the freezing point.
  • Cut down stems and foliage of herbaceous perennials when the leaves begin to brown.
  • Bring in cannas, dahlias, and gladioli, if not hardy in your area, after the tops are browned by frost. Allow to dry, clean off soil, and store in peat moss or vermiculite in a cool location free from frost.
  • Garden tools add up to a large financial investment. Take care of tools so they need not be replaced. Bring all your gardening tools inside. Clean them off. With proper care, quality tools can last you a lifetime.
  • Fall is a good time for moving plants. Transplant deciduous trees and shrubs when they are dormant. Evergreen trees or shrubs, however, may be transplanted earlier in the fall, before they go dormant.
  • Water evergreens thoroughly before the ground freezes. Evergreens continue to lose water by transpiring during the winter, but when the ground is frozen they cannot replenish the water.
  • During fall, demand for garden supplies is low, so keep an eye open for special prices on hand tools and power equipment to be given as gifts or used next year.

Weed and Pest Control

  • Control slugs, snails by removing their hiding places; clean up leaf litter.

For Fun

  • Start a family tradition by planting a tree or shrub in honor of a holiday, birthday, or anniversary. While celebrating the special occasion, you can also beautify your landscape and improve the air quality around your home.
  • Make a note of plants displaying outstanding fall colors as you drive along city streets and the surrounding countryside. You may wish to incorporate some of them into your own landscape.