Wait, isn’t it supposed to be SPRING CLEANING? Yes, and spring cleaning is great, you get to open windows, get fresh air, clean dust from the floors, curtains and carpets and enjoy the warm breezes. But a good fall cleaning before you button up the house for the cold weather is also important. Think of how much easier it will be to decorate for the various holidays if the house is already clean!
The same thing goes for the garden! Fall is the time to clean up and be ready for the winter season.
Things to do in September:
- Deadhead (remove spent flowers), trim back and fertilize your annuals. This will give you another round of color before you change them out to winter color like snapdragons and pansies. If your summer stuff is looking too good to pull out, start planting the others in between so there is no interruption in your color statement.
- Perennials can be planted any time, but fall is ideal. The soil is still warm and encourages root growth and yet the air is cooler which doesn’t stress the plant while it is getting established. It is a good time to clean old foliage and divide (if needed) existing perennials. Some, like agapanthus, scabiosa or daylilies really benefit from an occasional division!
- Get some pre-emergent down! Nothing like having a nice clean dormant Bermuda lawn and have the pesky Poa annua (annual bluegrass) sprout up in the middle, all green and clumpy! Best way to control that is to keep it from coming up in the first place, so a pre-emergent applied BEFORE it sprouts is your best bet there.
- Once you get the pre-emergent down and watered in, it is good time to replenish the mulch or bark in the landscape beds. It is another way to keep weeds down, retain moisture and just makes everything look neat and tidy.
- Start applying the blueing agent to your mophead and lacecap hydrangeas to make them bloom blue instead of pink next year. Starting in September and applying once a month through the end of February will give you a nice vivid blue.
Getting all of these maintenance tasks done when it is a little cooler makes it easier to complete, it is all done before it gets cold (and hopefully rainy!) and your landscape will thank you in the long run!