Fall Gardening Tips

Fall is in the air…

Outdoor Planters:  Freshen up your neglected planters with a fun fresh look that can take the cooler temperatures.  Focus not only on color, but also on texture.  Flowering Kale, Ornamental Chard, Pansies, Asters and Mums are great plants to consider.

Planning to overwinter your mums?  Chrysanthemums being grown and bred now are very different than the chrysanthemums of long ago. Mum breeders have provided us with wonderful new colors, sizes and shapes of the ever-popular garden mum. But, as these new characteristics were developed, something else had to go. It takes a lot of energy to produce all those wonderful new qualities that today’s hardy mums possess. Unfortunately, that often means they can’t establish a healthy root system and do not have enough vigor left to overwinter.

In ground plants:  If you are like me and are taking advantage of this wonderful weather, be sure to adequately water newly planted shrubs, trees and perennials both the night before and the morning following a frost.

Plant fall bulbs. Alliums, tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, etc., need to be planted in the fall so you can enjoy their color the following season. You have until the ground is too hard to dig in to get them in the ground.

Some people will tell you to prune back perennials in the fall.  While this is an option, I recommend waiting until spring to do so.  That way the foliage from this past summer will help protect the plant all winter long.

We are now past the point in which it’s safe to prune during this growing season.  Any plants pruned now will likely begin to grow again this season and therefore not be hardened off prior to cold weather, so hands off until the cold is here to stay…or better yet, early spring!

Lawns:  Fall is for fertilizing.  Help boost your lawns nutrition and apply a granular fertilizer like Scott’s Step 4 or Scott’s Lawn Pro Super Turf Builder Winterguard Fall Fertilizer.   Fertilizing in the fall helps to build a deeper root system and ultimately a more lush lawn come spring.

Houseplants:  Bring any tropicals or houseplants you may have had outdoors this past summer.  Locate them indoors out of reach from pets and children but allow them to have adequate light.  Tropicals like hibiscus can often look pretty rough during the winter inside, so place them out of the way and be sure to continue watering them when their soil is dry to the touch.  Before relocating them, inspect their foliage for any signs of bugs or disease. I also recommend using a systemic insecticide to prevent bug problems from happening indoors.


Sara Selchert Carpenter

Steve’s Ace Home & Garden

VP of Operations

Master Landscape Designer


563.690.1500 office