The weather is gorgeous, and it looks like it will hold for a while. It’s perfect work weather, and now is a good time to begin lawn and garden clean-up and prepare for next year’s beautiful landscape!

Trees and Shrubs

For existing trees and shrubs, especially those that have been planted just this year, be sure to keep watering. Fall can be a dry time of year, and is often still sunny and warm, all of which can dry out the soil and roots. In the absence of rain, water one inch per week.

Fall is the best time to plant deciduous trees and shrubs. Evergreens can still be planted, but the sooner the better at this point. Why is it such a good time? There’s still time for roots to become established even as the plant begins to go dormant, and the cooler weather causes less stress. In spring, the tree or shrub will reap all the benefits of being in the ground as it starts to wake up, such as the snow thaw and rain.

Perennials

Cooler weather is good here, too, so the plants are less stressed out. (It’s hard enough adjusting to a new home!) And, there is still plenty of time for new roots to get off to a good start. For best results, here are tips for fall planting success:

  • Dig hole 2x the diameter of the pot
  • Add Espoma Bio-tone and back-fill hole with 1/2 planting mix or compost and 1/2 original soil
  • Water well until the ground is frozen (1 inch per week)
  • Cover plantings with straw or marsh hay after the ground freezes

Some of our favorite fall bloomers include Black-eyed Susan, Sedum, and Chelone. Chelone is affectionately known as Turtlehead, and it’s a bee magnet!

Chelone with pink flowers

Dig and Divide

Wondering when to divide and replant peonies and iris? Now is the time. Read more about this process for peonies and iris at the University of Minnesota Extension website: Planting Peonies | Irises

In the Lawn

Now is the time to plant grass seed! Before mid-September is best, but a little beyond is okay, too.

This is also the best time to winterize the existing lawn. Winterizing fertilizer is a slow-release type, and it improves the hardiness of lawns, allowing them to better withstand winter, and promotes faster greening in spring. We have the best of the best: Fertilome Winterizer is the perfect choice for getting the lawn off to a healthy start for next year.

Bonus: Now is the best time for weed control, too! Plants are greedily taking in nutrients in order to overwinter, so weeds like Creeping Charlie quickly absorb herbicide, too, making the solution that much more effective. We recommend Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra.

Tropicals, Houseplants, Succulents and Cactuses

Cactus

Plan to bring in tropicals and houseplants that you hope to keep over winter or even just for a few more weeks.

Succulents and cactuses will acclimate quite well to slightly cooler temps, so it’s not as urgent that they come in right away. Remember, these are desert plants, and desert environments sometimes reach freezing temperatures. Tropicals, however, really prefer not to go below 50 degrees, so bring them in first.

Consider whether or not plants would benefit from repotting. This can help replenish nutrients that have been washed away as well as provide an opportunity to flush out bugs you’d rather not bring into your home. Just pull out the plant, gently wash the soil away, and repot with new potting mix, like Tonkaterra.

If you don’t repot, spray the soil with Bonide’s Eight or Captain Jack’s Dead Bug about a week before bringing plants inside. This will help get rid of bad bugs in the soil.

Relax and Enjoy

It’s always good to get a head start and prepare for the next season, but don’t forget to relax and enjoy your gardens. Take it all in – this is Minnesota, after all, and we all know what’s coming our way in a few months.

Greenhouse cat, Tiger