- Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, grass seed and sod. Plants that are planted in the fall enjoy cooler temperatures and ideal growing conditions that allow roots ample time to grow into the surrounding soil. Use starter plant fertilizer mix when planting.
- Plants and trees that provide color in the month of September include Beautyberry, Crape Myrtles, Cotoneaster, Viburnums, Hypericum, Hydrangeas, Potentilla, Pyracantha and Butterfly Bush.
- There are lots of perennials with interest now including Coreopsis, Ccabiosa and ornamental grasses.
- Add a touch of fall to your landscape by planting hardy Mums now.
- Do not prune Azaleas, Rhododendrons and other spring flowering shrubs because they have already set their buds for next year's blooms. If you feel these shrubs do need to be pruned, however, you can prune them now, but you will sacrifice next spring flowers.
- Time to feed your plants with a good quality, slow release plant food made for perennials and flowering shrubs and trees that contains slow-release nitrogen, sulfate of potash, iron and other micro-nutrients for overall plant growth and development.
- Feed evergreens (Hollies, Boxwoods and Yews) and deciduous trees (Maples, Oaks and Ash) with a tree & shrub food. This product contains slow-release nitrogen, sulfate of potash, iron and other micro-nutrients for overall plant growth and development.
- Time to transplant peonies or divide them if you wish to multiply your plants.
- Spring blooming bulbs are best to plant in October. Plant Iris, Tulips, Crocus, Daffodils and many others for glorious color next spring.
- Add a touch of fall to your home and landscape with hardy Hums.
- Time to put away the beetle traps until next year.
- September is the best month of the entire year to seed your lawn. This includes both seeding a new lawn and reseeding (overseeding) an established lawn to make it thicker and healthier.
- If you need to, you can lime, fertilize and seed your lawn all in the same day. Otherwise, seed and fertilize the same day and then lime later in the fall.
- If needed, fall is a great time to aerate and/or de-thatch the lawn. If you decide to do one or both of these, they should be done prior to seeding.
- If you like, you can top-dress the lawn with an organic compost to improve heavy compacted, clay soil. Topdressing can be used alone or along with aeration, seeding and fertilizing.
- If you do plan to aerate, de-thatch or rototill (for total renovation), thoroughly soak the soil a day or two before you start your project or perform your project a day or two after a good rain.
- September is also a good time to apply a grub control to your lawn as a long-term control.
- Now is also a good time to control weeds growing in the lawn, however you cannot weed kill and seed the same day. If you choose to kill weeds in the lawn first, you must wait three weeks to seed your lawn. Or, if you seed first, you will need to wait until the new seed has germinated and been mowed at least twice before applying a weed killer.
- If you want to prevent winter annual weeds from germinating in the lawn, you can apply Gallery or Portrait in September, but this would prevent you from seeding now. You will have to wait 60 days to seed, which means you would probably need to wait until spring to seed the lawn.
Tips on applying weed killer:
- Do not apply weed controls on newly seeded areas.
- Do not apply weed controls on windy days.
- Do not apply weed controls near or on the edge of waterways.
- Do not apply weed controls when temperatures are above 85 degrees F.
- Do not allow children or pets to play on lawns freshly applied with weed controls. Wait until weed control is dry if you applied a liquid weed killer. If you applied a granular weed control, wait one week.
- Always check the label of weed control products and follow the labeling instructions.
Feeding the Lawn
- Fall is the best time to feed your lawn with a good quality, slow-release lawn food, with at least two feedings between the months of September, October, November and December.
- If you are seeding or sodding the lawn, use a 14-18-14 fertilizer weighting. It is high in phosphorus, which aids in seedling germination and encourages strong root development. If you use a 14-18-14 fertilizer weighting in September, follow-up with a 24-4-12 in November or December.
- If you are not seeding or sodding, use a 26-4-12 weighting. It is an ideal fertilizer to help green-up your lawn and keep it looking thick and healthy. This product is high in nitrogen, which will continue feeding the lawn over an extended period of time. If you use 26-4-12 in September, follow-up with 14-18-14 in November or December as a root-building winterizer.
- Time to bring houseplants back indoors. If needed, spray them first with Safer Houseplant Spray. You can dust the soil with insecticide granules to prevent bringing in ants, wireworms, sow bugs, etc.
- Fertilize your houseplants a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote through November, and then stop feeding them until February.
PERENNIALS, ANNUALS and BULBS
It is especially important to mulch after planting if bulbs are planted very late in fall. Mulch insulates the soil, keeping it warmer longer so root growth can occur. If MARGINALLY HARDY bulbs are heavily mulched to survive winter, pull back the mulch toward the end of winter. This prevents premature growth as the sun warms the soil.