Fall Edition of

Timely Gardening Tips“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus

Annuals, Perennials & Bulb Care

  • Transplant and/or divide perennials that were crowded or had ‘die-out’ in the center. Apply Espoma Pant-tone and compost to new divisions and plantings.
  • Continue using Bobbex to keep rabbits and 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.
  • 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.
  • Especially important for heavy soils, incorporate well-rotted organic matter such as Mushroom Compost or Worm Castings into the soil.
  • Clean up all diseased and decaying foliage to prevent spread of diseases.
  • Bring tender perennials such as fuscia and coleus indoors and keep them in a cool, frost-free location in good light. Hose-off plants being careful to also get the underside of leaves, then spray with Bonide Insecticidal Soap prior to bringing inside. Do not fertilize from October – February. Check frequently for insects such as 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.
  • Terracotta 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 (pansies, kale, etc.), evergreens such as boxwood or dwarf spruce trees, & topiaries for fall through spring color. Place the pots on plant caddies, plant stands or casters, so they don’t touch the ground. This will prevent the pot from cracking.
  • Fall is the only time to transplant and divide herbaceous plants with large tap roots such as baptisia (false indigo) and peonies. Replant using Espoma Plant-tone, 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, and temperatures drop below 25°, apply mulch or leaf mold to perennial beds and borders. Perennials 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 iris and daffodils when the temperature drops and stays below 50 degrees. Tulips should be kept in a cool, dark place and planted in late October. 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 them to harden off for winter.
  • After first heavy freeze (below 25 degrees), prune 50% off top growth of all roses except climbers.
  • Clean up all diseased foliage and treat soil with a fungicide like Bonide Copper Fungicide.
  • Mulch heavily to cover crown using mulch or compost.

Vegetables & Herbs

  • Remove and compost finished crops.
  • Bring tender perennial herbs (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.
  • 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 such as compost or worm castings to replenish and improve soil.
  • Row Covers can be used to extend the growing season.
  • If you are done planting vegetables for the year, cover crops can be planted to improve improve the soil.


Trees and Shrubs

  • Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs! Apply 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 Super Phosphate.
  • Apply Wilt Stop on azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies and other broadleaf evergreens in late October to protect from winter wind.
  • Apply Ferti-Lome Chelated Liquid Iron to evergreens showing signs of iron chlorosis (yellowing foliage).
  • Apply Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier 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 Ferti-Lome Horticulture Oil to treat for scale.
  • Apply Ferti-Lome Tree And Shrub Systemic Insecticide to protect against insect damage.
  • Apply Holly-tone to organically feed acid loving plants such as azalea, rhododendron, redbud and dogwood.


Tropical Plants

  • 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 organic Ferti-Lome Horticulture Oil or Bayer’s 2-in-1 Insect Control Spikes to kill insects before bringing indoors.
  • Repot orchids while they are not in bloom, with a good orchid potting mix. Feed them with Jack’s Classic Orchid Bloom Booster.

Lawn Care

  • 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 our area to renovate or create new lawns. The soil temperatures are still warm so seed germinates quickly. For more information, click here.
  • Be sure to keep leaves off newly seeded lawns.
  • If reseeding apply either Ferti-Lome New Lawn Starter Fertilizer or Espoma Lawn Food. Do not apply straw on newly seeded areas as straw contains weed seed.
  • Cool-season lawns are best fertilized in fall. Apply up to three times during October and November with with Espoma Lawn Food.
  • Fall is also the best time to treat perennial weeds such as nutsedge, bermudagrass, dandelions, clover and violets. Use Sedge Hammer for nutsedge and Turflon Ester Plus to kill wild violets, ground ivy, burmudagrass, dandelions, oxalis and other annual and perennial weeds.
  • Use Ferti-Lome Weed Out Lawn Weed Killer to kill existing weeds.


  • Continue shredding and composting all dead herbaceous material and leaves.
  • Turn the compost pile frequently.
  • Heat up your compost pile to speed the decaying process by adding organic Bonide Compost Maker.
  • Add water to compost pile to keep moist and add fresh kitchen refuse (vegetable waste, coffee grounds 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. 


Fall Pond Care

  • 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 here for a preview of the Winter Edition of Jaspurr’s Garden Jargon.