Preparing Your Garden

Even though it is still the beginning of September, changes are starting to happen in your garden. You may notice your trees and shrubs getting some fall color. Some annuals are beginning to look past their prime, and your vegetables are finishing the last of their harvests. All of this is normal for this time of year.

It is time to think about preparing for winter. There are several things you can do:

  • Stop pruning – Pruning will only encourage new growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.
  • Stop Fertilizing – Never fertilize in late summer or early fall because the available nutrients will stimulate new growth at a time when trees, shrubs, perennials, and roses are preparing for dormancy.
  • Fertilize Your Lawn – Apply Milorganite in September. Milorganite is a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer that will help rejuvenate and repair your lawn from the stresses of summer. It also helps your lawn grow more robust and deeper roots. (Avoid fertilizing newly sown lawns or over-seeded lawns.)
  • Seed Or Over Seed Your Lawn – September is a great time to grow grass if your lawn looks a bit thin or has some bare spots.
  • Divide & Transplant – Now is the time to do so if plants need to be split or moved. Make sure to water newly transplanted plants; we also recommend using a rooting hormone such as Bonide Root N Grow to help prevent transplant shock. Every 3-5 years, transplant fibrous-rooted perennials. Divide Spring blooming perennials in the Fall and Fall blooming perennials in the Spring. Cut back tops to 4-6 inches to reduce transplant stress.
  • Plant – mums, pansies, asters, trees, and shrubs.
  • Keep Up Your Watering Schedule – especially with newly planted evergreen trees and shrubs. Because plants such as yew and arborvitae never go completely dormant, their roots should be slightly moist to help the plant survive drying winter winds. Newly planted evergreens are particularly susceptible to dry soil, so ensure they get at least an inch of water a week.
  • Weed – keep up with weeding to prevent weeds in the Spring.
  • Improve Your Soil – Fall is a good time for improving your garden soil by adding manure, compost, and leaves to increase the organic matter content. Wood ashes contain phosphorous, potassium, and calcium. Place on vegetable gardens and flower beds as a top dressing that will feed the soil all winter.
  • Fall Bulbs – Even though it is a little early yet to be planting fall bulbs, now is the time to purchase for the best selection. Fall bulbs must be planted in the fall before the first hard frost. It is best to wait until the outside temperature does not reach 65 degrees anymore.