Remove Dead Plant Material
The end of a hot summer means a lot of dead flowers and leaves that should be removed to prevent pests and disease during the cooler months. Early fall is a great time to cut perennials back and pull annuals that have finished blooming. Weed your garden beds so the unwanted plants don’t produce seeds that will sprout next season. Toss the debris into a compost pile, but don’t include seed heads to avoid unwanted plant growth. To extend the life of your flower beds into fall, replace dead summer annuals with cool weather annuals like pansies and mums.
Plant Cool-Weather Vegetables to Transition Your Lawn to Fall
The end of summer is the perfect time to plant certain vegetables in your now-empty annual beds. As ornamentals, showy leafy greens such as flowering kale are a beautiful addition to your fall landscaping. Mix a small amount of compost into your soil to revive it and you’re ready to plant cool-season leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and lettuce, and root veggies such as carrots and radishes. Choose varieties with a shorter growing season to have a bountiful mid-fall harvest before your garden gets its first freeze. Early fall is also a good time to harvest herbs growing in your garden.
Prep Beds for Fall Bulbs
Plant fall bulbs to enjoy plant growth in spring. There are many varieties of bulbs, but crocus, tulips, and narcissus are particularly popular because they sprout early. The right time to plant fall bulbs will vary depending on your hardiness zone, but the general rule is to plant bulbs at a depth three times their height and cover them with enough mulch to keep them cold and dormant throughout the winter so they don’t sprout too soon.
Transition to Fall by Reseeding Your Lawn
A good time to reseed bare spots in your lawn is late summer to early fall. This gives the new lawn seedlings enough time to develop strong roots before a freeze. Fall is a perfect time to plant grass seed. The cooler weather with shorter days and longer nights encourages seeds to germinate. Rake the lawn to remove as much debris and dead grass as possible before seeding.
Just because the summer growing season is coming to an end doesn’t mean you have to ignore the lawn. Give your garden a boost for fall to enjoy it further before winter weather settles in.