Fall Garden Tasks

September 17, 2018

The weather is cooling down, the rain has come back, and the leaves are falling. Before the temperatures start getting too cold, it’s a good idea to take a look at what upcoming tasks you can tackle in the garden. Following these simple fall gardening tasks, will have your garden looking clean and tidy all throughout fall but still leave plenty of down time for those fun fall activities.



  • Deadhead flowering perennials as desired to encourage more blooms or clean up


Lawn Maintenance

  • Lawn maintenance can begin as weather starts to cool after Labor Day
    • Dethatch lawns if thatch is ¾” or thicker to decrease insect and disease issues
    • Over seed thin spots and top dress with ¼” compost to cover seed
    • Apply Lime when rain returns to increase the pH as needed (soil test will indicate need)
    • Fertilize with an organic slow release lawn food unless nitrogen levels are sufficient
  • Reduce irrigation towards end of month
  • As growing season comes to an end, switch mower height to 2”-3” to keep mold from forming during wet months

Garden Beds

  • Begin to decrease irrigation as weather cools. Focus on deep but infrequent watering
  • Great time to plant hardy perennials, trees and shrubs
  • Other
    • Harvest the last of the summer vegetable garden!
    • Sow cover crops to add nutrients and keep weeds down in vegetable beds
    • Enjoy the last blows of summer and relax in the garden!

October & November


  • Winterize the irrigation system the last half of October
    • Shut down and blow water out of the lines
    • An irrigation company can be hired to do a ‘winter shut down’


  • Trees and shrubs may be lightly pruned if needed but refrain from any major pruning
  • Cut back withered and unsightly deciduous perennials to the ground as desired
  • Leave some deciduous perennials and grasses for winter interest and wildlife


  • Reduce mowing frequency
  • Do any lawn maintenance you didn’t get to in September
  • Rake leaves off lawn or mulch mow small amounts back in
  • Set mower height to 2”-3” to keep mold at bay

Garden Beds

  • Plant spring blooming bulbs like Daffodils and Tulips
  • Divide and transplant robust perennials using a sharp shovel or spade
  • Mulch beds if you did not do so in spring
  • Great time to plant hardy perennials, shrubs, and trees


  • Dig out perennial weeds using a Hori Hori to get entire root (ex- dandelions and morning glory)
  • Remove annual weeds using a Hula Hoe to remove tops and prevent them from seeding (ex- shotweed)


  • Clean storm debris and leaves from patio and pathways to prevent staining or moss and weed growth

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