15 Garden Tasks To Accomplish In September
As summer winds down, and the fall season begins, it’s a good time to begin thinking about some simple garden tasks to accomplish in your garden. Keep enjoying the late summer warmer weather by all means, but by accomplishing some of these to-dos, you’ll be ahead of the game come frosts and colder weather:
- Before starting any major cleanup, take some photos of the beds that were successful, so you can replicate or add to them next year. Take some shots of the ones that didn’t work out so well, so you can remember to make changes next spring. Jot down some notes in a garden journal so you can refer to them as you read through garden catalogs this winter. A good one is The Garden Journal The Essentials, by Liane Doxey.
- Divide up perennials that have grown too large, or don’t seem to be flourishing as they have in past years. A sign of this may be the center of the plants that are dying out. Divide them up and double your enjoyment of them next year! A great tool to use is the Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife we recently reviewed on our site. The serrated edge should help make this an easier task.
- If the first frosts are a way off in your planting zone, trim back annuals, and maybe feed one more time. You might get an additional, although less showy, bloom out of them before needing to pull them up.
- Early in September, keep dead-heading perennials, roses and other remaining blossoms.
- Late in September, and into October, as temperatures stay consistently below 60 degrees, dig in spring blooming bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and crocus. This will give them time to develop roots before the first frosts. It’s a good idea to mulch over the bulb planting area so the soil stays warmer longer. Check out deals on bulbs at one of our recommended vendors, Direct Gardening.
- Continue adding to the compost pile, but don’t add in weeds as those will only go dormant and then contribute to new weeds next spring. As leaves begin falling, you can add those to your compost pile, layering with plenty of green matter.
- In cooler areas, begin bringing in your houseplants that have been outside enjoying warmer temperatures. You’ll want these inside prior to any frosts hitting your area! Always wash the pots down, and check carefully for any spiders or other pests that may be hidden away in the pots, leaves, or soil. A pest control specifically for house plants such as Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap should help keep bugs from hitchhiking into your house.
As the season cools down, and more rains hit, perennials will send out lots of new roots, and will do even better next spring. You can often get good deals at the nursery on perennials to introduce to your garden beds as well.
- This is a good time to scatter seeds from perennials or hardy annuals that you’ve already got in your yard. Rather than deadhead those plants, let them go to seed, gather, and then scatter in areas you’d like to see additional plantings of your favorites!
- If you’ve been thinking about adding a new tree, fall is a great time to do so, for the same reasons you can add and divide perennials. Keep watering them after planting to encourage root growth, add a three inch layer of mulch, but don’t put the mulch more than a few inches away from the trunk. Our partner, Nature Hills Nursery , has some great trees to consider adding to your landscape. Maybe a new flowering pear or cherry tree to look forward to next spring?
- If you’ve got a lawn, raise the height of your mower blades so grass growth slows down.
- Aerating, thatching and adding some seasonal fertilizer when the fall rains start. You may also want to add some additional grass seed to fill in bare patches.
- Clean up and store any pots from summer annuals as you get rid of these plants at the end of the season. Get rid of any older, well used ones, or refinish them so next spring they’re ready to go for planting!
- If you grew sunflowers this summer, leave the seed heads out for the birds to enjoy. In fact, many of your perennials, grasses, and shrubs, even your roses can be left to go to seed as October heads our way. Not only are some of these seed pods attractive, they supply food and shelter to birds and other wildlife over the winter. We think the seedpods from grasses and rose hips are particularly interesting in fall and winter.
- In regards to pruning, go ahead and get rid of any dead or broken branches, but in most cases, leave the pruning for shape until next spring so the plant has the chance to go dormant before cool weather. Pruning now will encourage new growth, which could be damaged by frosts.
Yes, this is a fairly long list, but you’ll be happy you took the time to prepare for cooler temperatures, and so will your garden!
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