Fall Gardening Tips
See links below for great gardening tips and other seasonal tips
Annuals & Perennials
- Plant mums for great fall color. They prefer sunny areas and should be planted in well drained soil. For more info on mum care, click here.
- Transplant and/or divide perennials that were crowded or had ‘die-out’ in the center. Be sure you “know your plants” because not all perennials need to be divided. Apply Dr. Earth Flower Garden Fertilizer and Compost to new divisions and plantings.
- Remove tired summer annuals and fill your garden spaces or containers with frost tolerant annuals such as pansies and ornamental cabbage and kale. Pansies will bloom from fall to spring (weather permitting)!
- Continue using Rabitt Stopper II or Rabbit Scram to keep rabbits away and use Deer Scram deer away.
- Place small decorative stones in pots to deter squirrels and cats from digging up newly planted flowers.
- Remove dead flower heads by cutting them at the base of the stem to encourage reblooming and to prevent the plant from using large quantities of energy to produce seed.
- Be sure to leave some cone flowers, black-eyed Susans and grasses. The birds love the seeds.
- Remove all weeds in beds and borders before they set seed by digging them out by the root or by spot spraying them with a non-selective weed killer such as Roundup. Use Preen to prevent new weeds from sprouting.
- Incorporate well-rotted organic matter such as leaf mold into the soil. This is especially important for heavy, compacted soils.
- Clean up all diseased and decaying foliage to prevent spread of diseases.
- Bring tender perennials such as fuscia and coleus indoors. Hose-off plants being careful to also get the underside of leaves, then spray with Organic Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil prior to bringing inside. Do not fertilize from October – February. Check frequently for insects—aphids, scale, white fly & mealy bugs can be a problem in dry winter air. Plants will benefit from a periodic watering in the sink or shower.
- Terra cotta pots and non frost-proof containers should be emptied, cleaned & stored after the first hard frost. Frost-resistant containers (concrete, fiberglass or resin) may be replanted with cool-season flowers, vegetables, evergreens, trees, & topiaries for fall through spring color. Place the containers on pot feet so the container does not freeze to the ground.
- Fall is the only time to transplant and divide herbaceous plants with large tap roots such as baptisia (false indigo) and peonies. Replant using Bone Meal and Compost.
- Early spring-flowering perennials such as hellebores, pulmonaria, bergenia, and primrose should be planted and 1-2” of mulch applied around the base of the plant.
- After beds are weeded and cleaned of debris, apply mulch or leaf mold to perennial beds and borders. Mulch after temperatures drop below 25 degrees with Hardwood Mulch
s need to be chilled to bloom next year. Make sure not to bury the crown (center) of the plant with mulch.
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils when the temperature drops and stays below 50 degrees. Use bone meal when planting spring bulbs for strong roots and large flowers.
- Plant spring bulbs among hostas, ferns, daylilies, or ground covers. As these plants grow in the spring, they will hide the dying bulb foliage.
- Rabbits will not eat hyacinths, daffodils or scillas or alliums!
- Use bone meal on established bulb planting to nurture them for better flowers in spring.
- Stop feeding roses to allow the bush to harden off for winter.
- After first heavy freeze (below 25 degrees), prune 50% of top growth of all roses except climbers.
- Clean up all diseased foliage and treat soil with a fungicide like ???.
- Mulch heavily to cover crown using Hardwood Mulch.
Vegetables & Herbs
- Remove and compost finished crops.
- Bring tender perennial herbs such as bay laurel and rosemary, indoors.
- Lift and store root vegetables—lift and place in the sun for a few hours to harden the skin before being stored in a cool, frost-free location.
- Harvest and dry or freeze herbs for winter use. Herbs such as parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme and marjoram can be dug from the garden and placed in pots for growing indoors in winter.
- Be sure to pick the last of the green tomatoes just before frost.
- Remove all weeds to prevent seed germination and till or turn soil to expose insects to the cold. This can reduce insect numbers in the spring.
- Dig in composted manure, leaf mold or organic material to replenish and improve soil.
- Row Covers are a great way to extend the growing season.
Tree and Shrub Care
- Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs! Warm days and cool nights will get roots well established to winter-over. Apply a root stimulator to reduce transplant shock.
- Do corrective pruning (crossed branches, etc.), remove all dead and diseased wood and prune plants to desired shape. DO NOT prune spring flowering trees & shrubs such as redbuds, big-leaf hydrangeas, lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons and azaleas as they have already set their buds.
- Mulch up to 2” around the drip line of trees and shrubs. Mulch should not touch the bark of the tree or shrub.
- Trim hedges as necessary.
- Root prune Wisteria and fertilize with Triple Super Phosphate.
- Apply Hi Yield Aluminum Sulphate to keep blue-blooming hydrangeas blue.
- Continue watering evergreens until the ground freezes. Soil must not be dry when winter arrives.
- Spray euonymus with organic Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil to treat for scale.
Tropical Plants Care
- Dig banana trees and other tropical bulbs like; cannas, dahlias, caladiums, elephant ears. Store in a dry location in a basement or garage.
- Cactus and succulents die from over watering more that any other reason. Reduce the amount and frequency of watering to reduce the danger of root rot.
- As the amount of natural light dwindles, remember to turn your pots regularly to ensure that every side of the plant is receiving sunlight.
- To ensure sufficient humidity, place moisture-loving plants such as creeping figs, ferns, orchids, and aralias on trays filled with gravel, small stones or pebbles.
- Daily misting can also help increase humidity levels.
- Repot tropical’s and spray with Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil to kill insects before bringing indoors.
- Repot orchids while they are not in bloom, with a good orchid potting mix. Feed them with a good orchid fertilizer.
- Early September is the best time to fertilize your lawn. This is the most important application of the year that will keep it looking healthy and lush.
- Continue mowing the lawn if it keeps growing to a length of 3”.
- Rake lawn to remove thatch and spike or aerate to alleviate compaction.
- Fall is the best time in St. Louis to overseed lawns because the soil temperatures are still warm so seed germinates quickly. Keep leaves off newly seeded lawns.
- Fall is also the best time to treat perennial weeds such as nutsedge, bermudagrass, dandelions, clover and violets.
- Use Turflon Ester to kill wild violets, ground ivy, burmudagrass, dandelions, oxalis and other annual and perennial weeds.
- Be sure to keep leaves off of newly seeded lawns.
For more information about renovating, creating a new lawn or just some good lawn care tips, click here.
- Shred and compost any non-diseased herbaceous and woody plant material and leaves. Turn the compost pile weekly, and help “heat” it up to speed up the decaying process by adding ??Espoma Compost Starter.
- Add water to compost pile to keep moist and add fresh kitchen refuse (vegetable, non-acidic fruit waste and eggshells only. NO meat products)
For the Birds...
- Shelter, food, and nesting areas encourage birds to your fall garden. Birdhouses provide shelter. Feeders and berry-producing shrubs such as winterberry (deciduous holly), provide food and nesting areas.
- Select seed to attract your favorite birds. Chickadees, nut hatches, and finches are attracted to sunflower seeds, thistle, and suet. Cardinals, mocking birds and woodpeckers are attracted to sunflower seed and peanut suet.
Pond Care Tips
- Thin out oxygenator plants. Remove old growth and put only new growth tips back in the pond.
- Remove annual water plants such as water hyacinth and water lettuce.
- Feed fish until the water temperature falls below 50 degrees.
- Be sure all hardy water perennials are on the bottom of the pond, at least 18” deep. Bring tender plants in to a frost-free location and keep them wet all winter.
- Clean all debris out of pond to prevent algae and bacteria from developing.
- If leaving the pump in the pond, clean well and move to a higher location so that the warmer water at the bottom remains undisturbed for the health of the plants and fish.
- If removing filter, clean and store properly following the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- If putting heat ring or floating de-icer in for the winter, do so in late October.
- For easy spring clean-up, cover pond with screen or netting to keep out leaves and debris.
Click on the links below for great gardening tips
Mulching | Growing Pansies | Organizing Seeds | Growing Tomatoes | Lawn Care Tips | Garden Mum Care | Caring for Poinsettias
For other Seasonal gardening tips click on the links below
April Gardenign Tips | May Gardening Tips | Summer Gardening Tips | Fall Gardening Tips | Winter Gardening Tips