Outdoor Living

Fall in the Garden

You did it. You survived the spring and summer and are probably enjoying the fruits of your labors, literally! Now that fall is upon us, there are a few things you can do in your garden, which I will address briefly below, but more importantly this is the perfect time of year to focus your attention on your landscape!

Garden To Do’s:

  • Seed hardy fall crops the first part of August (beets, collards, kale, lettuce mustard, spinach, turnips)
  • Prep your fruit trees for winter and the coming spring by applying apple and peach borer control to prevent damage from pests
  • Mid-August transplant rest of fall crops, broccoli, kohlrabi, etc… and seed snap beans beets, carrots, cabbage, radishes and spinach
  • The cool weather and light frost of fall usually result in excellent flavors in your fall garden, so keep those plants alive and healthy as long as you can so you can enjoy enhanced flavors
  • Clean up the garden when harvesting is done, put away cleaned and oiled tools, drain the hoses, remove spent garden plants – as decaying vegetables and fruit in the garden attract pests and disease

September and October are the best months to work on your landscape. The soil temperatures are still warm encouraging great root growth, but the air temperatures are cooling so that there is little heat stress or drought stress on your plants. Unless you have bare root trees and shrubs, you should focus your energy on your landscape in the fall and spend the spring in your flower or vegetable garden.

Landscape To Do’s:

  • Now is the best time to plant a lawn, whether it is by seed or sod
  • Plant trees and shrubs that are in pots or balled and burlap, the warm soil will encourage great root growth, but the cooler air temperatures will not stress the plants
  • Put out your bulbs for beautiful spring color
  • Paint southwest trunks with white latex paint to keep the bark for burning during the winter months
  • Make sure to water you trees and shrubs really good before the winter arrives, but do the reverse for your lawn. Slowly try to reduce the frequency of watering while increasing the quantity of water applied. This will encourage a deep root system for your lawn which will be more heat and drought tolerant in the spring and summer
  • Fall is the best time to aerate your lawn. Also a great time to fertilize your lawn (once on Labor day and once on Oct 15th). The goal is to create the best root system possible so that spring and summer are a breeze for your lawn and that they can handle stress. Aeration will create great water and air channels in the soil for healthier roots and fertilizing heavier in the fall verse the spring will also encourage better root growth
  • Wrap delicate evergreens in burlap to prevent heavy snow fall from breaking branches during the winter

Remember to always have fun in the garden, no matter the season.

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Written by Dianne Farrer, Ph.D.

Dianne has bachelors’ and master’s degrees from BYU in Horticulture Science and Agronomy (Soil Fertility) and a doctorate degree from NC State in Crop Science and Ecology. She worked in the nursery industry and educational field, but recently left a job working for the NC Department of Agriculture doing on farm consultations for producers of hogs to strawberries, row crops to golf courses. She lives in Cedar Hills with her husband and two daughters trying to find ways to share her passion of plants and soils with others.