Fall Garden Checklist

Use this timely guide to prepare your garden for winter.


1. Water:  Give all of your plants a good drink, especially your trees. Their roots need plenty of moisture to make it through the upcoming months.
Before autumn begins, find out how to tend your garden at the end of summer.


2.  Clear Debris from the Base of Roses:  Fallen rose foliage can give diseases a safe place to overwinter and create problems in your garden next year.

3.  Plant Shrubs and Evergreens:  Early fall planting gives new plants enough time to get their roots established before winter.

4.  Amend Your Soil:  Get the ground ready for next year's beds and your fall bulbs by tilling the soil and adding home-made compost.

5.  Plant Fall Annuals:  Once your summer blooms fade, add color to your garden with fall annuals, such as mums, pansies, and ornamental kale.

6.  Lower the Height on Your Lawn Mower:  Grass grows more slowly in fall, but it still needs to be cut to prepare for winter. A lower cutting height helps the soil dry out more quickly in spring.

7.  Feed the Birds:  Don't forget your feathered friends; their food supply grows scarce in autumn.

8.  Divide and Cut Back Perennials:  While you're digging them up to divide them, try rearranging plants if they haven't been working in their current location.  Hold off dividing asters, chrysanthemums, and other fall-blooming perennials. It's best to split them in spring.

9.  Dig Summer Bulbs:  Love the way your favorite summer bulbs performed this year? Save them for a repeat show next year! It's easy: Dig and store dahlias, cannas, caladiums, callas, and other tender bulbs in peat moss or sand in a cool (around 50 degrees F is best), frost-free spot for the winter.
Note: If you live in an area where the bulbs are hardy, you can leave them in the ground. Digging and storing summer bulbs is only necessary if they can't take the amount of winter cold your area experiences.

10.  Rake and Mulch:  

11.  Get Bulbs in the Ground:  Plant your favorite bulbs now for colorful springtime blooms.  You can usually get away with planting bulbs late, up until the soil freezes solid enough you can't get a shovel in the ground.

12.  Feed Your Lawn:  

13.  Bring Tender Container Plants Indoors:  Remove dead foliage and break up any hardened soil before hauling your cherished tropical plants (such as mandevilla, passionflower, and citrus) indoors for the winter.  Keep an eye out for pests, too. Before bringing plants indoors, spray them, if necessary, to keep aphids, mealybugs, or other harmful insects out of your house.

14.  Empty Hoses, Fountains, and Drip-Irrigation Systems: Ensure any standing water is removed from your watering equipment; store items in a dry place. 

15.  Clean up the Vegetable Garden:  Remove weeds and debris so pests won't make your garden their winter home.

16.  Dig Up Annuals:  Spent and dead, your summer annuals can now nourish the compost heap.

17.  Protect Cold-Sensitive Plants:  Shrubs, roses, and perennials that might succumb to blasts of cold should be protected with mulch or another protective covering. Place these frost barriers after the first freeze.
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Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.-Albert Camus-