Access the Damage: A flower garden can tell you a lot at the end of the growing season. You’ll want to assess the results of all your spring and summer work, and prepare the garden for next spring. First, take a walk around your garden and look at how all the plants did over the summer. Track successes and failures of individual plants. Identify which plants have outgrown their space and need to be divided.
Add Mulch: Determine which bare areas could use soil amendment and new plants. Add mulch where necessary and check for diseases.
Preparing the Lawn: Within the first six weeks, it will be the ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye; it will give them the opportunity to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive.
Fertilizing the Lawn: It’s also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses can store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring. This six-week window is also the perfect time to put down a second application of selective, pre-emergent herbicide. The first application — which lawn enthusiasts usually apply in late winter to early spring — takes care of weed seeds that overwintered in the lawn. The second application deals with weed seeds that were deposited during the summer months. At the end of the year, you can also make an application of post-emergent herbicide, or you can spot-treat weeds with a non-selective herbicide such as glyphosate. For spot treatments, you can also use an all-natural formulation such as horticultural vinegar or clove oil. Caution: Know the difference between selective and non-selective herbicides. Selective herbicides target specific weeds or seeds without damaging turf grass or landscape plants in the process. Non-selective herbicides destroy anything and everything green.
Dividing perennials: Reinvigorates plants and gives you new plants to add to other areas of your garden or to share with neighbors and friends
Remove Damaged Branches: While shearing shrubs isn’t recommended, autumn is a perfect time to remove limbs that are diseased, damaged or otherwise detrimental to a plant’s overall structure.
Plant Spring Bulbs: Spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils require a cold winter in order to bloom to their full potential, so planting them now in fall will ensure they get all the cold temperatures that they need. We recommend planting tulips 8″ deep and daffodils 9″ deep.
Fall Tree and Shrub Planting: It’s a great time to install trees and shrubs so that they can get established at least 6-8 weeks before winter’s icy chill. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help your new plants get started successfully.
1. Location: One of the most important concerns about planting your trees and shrubs is the location. Understand the plant’s mature size as well as its water and sun needs. Don’t install a plant too close to existing plants or structures or where spreading roots might interfere with your sewer system.
2. Fertilization and Pruning: When planting trees and shrubs in the fall, do not fertilize the soil or prune the plant. Both of these actions encourage new growth rather than allow the plant to focus on establishing its root system. You can add a rooting hormone if you so choose.
3. Mulching Adding mulch around the planting hole helps to insulate the tree and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. However, do not create a volcano mound around the trunk or stems because that prevents oxygen from circulating properly around the plants’ base.
4. Watering: Take special note of how to properly water your tree or shrub. Overwatering can be just as fatal as underwatering.