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Your Fall Garden Checklist


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Spring may be considered the season of renewal but there is plenty you can do now to renew your lawn & landscape! September is an excellent time to fertilize, seed, or sod your lawn. Container gardens can be refreshed by replacing leggy or spent annuals with cold-tolerant plants such as winter pansies, ornamental kale & cabbage, fall asters, sedum and mums.

And nothing freshens your landscape like a new layer of mulch. Mulch also helps retain moisture, controls weeds, and provides invaluable protection to perennials, shrubs and trees in winter. Use the following checklist to keep your outdoor space looking fresh ‘til the snow flies!


  • Replace tired annuals with cold-tolerant plants for pops of color that will last through first frost
  • Incorporate compost into gardens so nutrients will be immediately available to plants next spring
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Planting in fall is ideal because:
    • Fewer pest and disease problems
    • Soil is loose and warm so it’s easier to dig holes & deeply water new plantings
    • Stronger root development and reduced transplant stress since roots will grow immediately and until the ground freezes
    • Fall temps are more enjoyable for you, the gardener!
  • Plant bulbs like daffodils, tulips, hyacinth and allium for early spring color
  • Divide perennials such as peonies, iris, hosta and daylilies
  • Prune shrubs to shape and promote new growth in early spring
  • Mulch after planting and pruning to freshen the look of garden beds and protect perennials, trees & shrubs through winter
  • Apply a plant protector spray such as WiltPruf to evergreens (prevents wilting and browning from harsh winter weather)


  • Seed bare patches or overseed sparse lawn areas by mid-September to establish grass before the first frost
  • Continue to mow your lawn to prevent snow mold next spring (occurs in long, matted grass)
  • Apply a granular winterizer to fertilize the grass and kill stubborn fall weeds


  • Spray houseplants outdoors with insecticide to prevent unwanted tag-alongs, and then bring indoors
  • Empty clay and concrete pots and store in garage or shed to prevent frost cracking
  • Leave plastic pots and window boxes out for holiday decorating (fill with evergreen tips, holly berries, and seasonal accents)

If you’d like to learn more and get some expert tips in person, check out our “Put Your Garden to Bed: A Fall Garden Checklist” interactive garden talk on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 at 2 p.m.  Click here for more info!

And psst! If you want to take advantage of the great fall weather for planting, the Van Putte Gardens Annual Tree & Shrub Sale starts Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016… if it’s a tree, shrub or perennial, it WILL be 25-70% off!

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