This fall, this is how to get a healthy and beautiful garden:
Cincinnati’s favorite horticultural team stares their tips on how to keep your fall garden healthy and beautiful.
Fall Garden Tips
Taking Care of Your Soil & Lawn
- Provide good soil moisture for your larger trees and evergreens, landscape shrubs, perennials and lawn, and newly planted plants, as they go thru fall and winter. Good moisture in the soil is an essential part of how well plants will make it through the winter and into next spring, especially evergreens.
- Late August and early September is the best time for core aerating, seeding, and applying a starter fertilizer to your new seed, applying the first fall feeding of the lawn, and if needed, total lawn renovation. The timing for feeding and core aerating can continue on into and through October if needed. Seeding in October may or may not be successful, depending on the weather, but can be done.
- Apply a pre-emergent in the fall to help prevent winter annuals from germinating (chickweed, henbit, purslane) in landscape beds.
- Fall (October) is the best time to go after those broadleaf weeds in the landscape and lawns. Using a weed killer in the fall works better as the weeds are taking in nutrients and storing them in their roots for winter, so they take in the weed killer as well. Spot treat the weeds as needed. Remember, if you have new grass, make sure it has been mowed at least 3 times before applying a weed killer.
- Till the garden this fall. Exposed soils freeze and thaw over the winter and help to break up that heavy soil. Add a layer of compost, pine soil conditioner, manure, or finely ground leaves and grass clippings before you till. Fall is the best time to apply most soil amendments.
Don’t Forget Tree Care
- Water newly planted trees and shrubs as needed until we get into consistently cold weather. Also, check soil moisture between foundation plants and the foundation. If that area is dry, water.
- Transplant trees and shrubs and perennials that need to be moved in the yard.
- Expect your evergreens to shed inner needled during the fall. It’s a normal process. But be sure to keep them watered going through the fall season.
- Do last-minute ‘hand trimming’ of evergreens, tree limbs, etc. late fall if needed (plants are overgrown in their location), but save most hard or severe pruning for late winter/spring. Pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs in the fall will reduce or eliminate spring flowers, so prune after flowering to preserve spring flowers.
- Feed the trees in late fall if needed. Vertical mulching or soil injection with a Ross Root feeder works great. If feeding evergreens, wait until late fall and use ½ normal rate. Spring is good for feeding evergreens.
- Spray evergreens (as needed) with WiltStop for greater winter protection. Do this later in the fall. You can also spray rose canes and smaller Japanese maples for added winter protection.
Prep Your Perennials
- Dig and divide most spring and early summer flowering perennials as needed. Late summer (August through Sept.) is the time for iris and peonies.
- Continue to remove all dead foliage from perennials and clean up leftover annuals and veggie plants. Cut them off and leave the roots. They will break down and add organic matter back to the soil. Place disease-free dead foliage in the compost pile.
Activate Your Flower Power
- Dig, clean and store summer bulbs (cannas, tuberous begonias, gladiolas, caladiums, etc.) in a cool dark place for replanting next year. Let the early light frosts kill the tops, then dig and store away.
- Do not protect roses for the winter until late in the year, after the plants have gone dormant and the soil is close to or frozen. Reduce long branches as needed, but save serious pruning for next spring.
Cool-weather is perfect for planting!
- Change out summer annuals for fall bloomers. Plant fall color by adding mums, asters, pansies, cold-hardy annuals, ornamental grasses, late-blooming perennials, ornamental cabbage and kale, mustard greens, etc.
- Keep planting trees and shrubs. Fall is the best time for planting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, roses, lawns, etc.
- October through November is the best time for planting spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, anemones, alliums, etc.
- Cold Hardy Vegetables and Herbs
Cincinnati Gardening Made Simple! Have a fall gardening question? Ask Cincinnati favorite horticulturalist @ firstname.lastname@example.org.