Annuals and Bulbs
As you select your flowering bulbs to plant this fall, keep in mind
that larger caliber bulbs give big, showy displays, but cost more. Tulip
bulbs should be 12cm and larger since smaller bulbs might not bloom next
spring. Smaller caliber bulbs usually are less expensive, with a smaller
show, but are great for brightening nooks and crannies in your yard
As you plant your spring bulbs, remember that a mass planting of one
flower type or color will produce a better effect than a mixture of many
colors. Flowers of bulbs stand out more vividly if displayed against a
contrasting background. For example, white hyacinths among English ivy,
yellow daffodils against a 'Blue Girl ' holly hedge, or red tulips
towering over a carpet of yellow pansies
Perennials, especially spring bloomers,
can be divided now. Enrich the soil with peat moss or compost before
Plant mums in
pots or in the ground to add color to your fall garden. Mums need a spot
where they will get at least half a day of direct sun, preferably more.
Most people use them as annuals because it takes some work to get full
bushy plants that look as good the second year as they did when you bought
them. However, if you want to treat them as perennials, be sure to get our
fact sheet on chrysanthemum care.
Root cuttings from annual bedding plants
such as begonias, coleus, geraniums and impatiens. These plants can be
overwintered in a sunny window and provide plants for next year's garden
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Tuberous begonias and gladioli are usually
past their best by the end of September, so before any hard frost they
should be lifted and stored in a dark frost-free area. Before storing
they should be dusted with a suitable fungicide to prevent rotting. Also
make sure that they are totally dry before storage.
Vegetable and Herbs:
Harvest crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons and sweet
potatoes before the first frost, or cover the plants with blankets,
newspaper, etc., (but not plastic) to protect them from light frost.
After harvest, avoid storing apples or
onions with potatoes or carrots. The ethylene gas given off by the apples
and onions will cause potatoes to sprout, and the carrots will taste awful.
Herbs such as parsley, rosemary, chives,
thyme and marjoram can be dug from the garden and placed in pots now for
growing indoors this winter.
Sowing seeds of radish, lettuce, spinach
and other greens in a cold frame will prolong fall harvests.
Mix lettuce ‘Black
Seeded Simpson’ and lettuce ‘Red
Sails’ and seed empty areas in your flower and veggie gardens for a
colorful and edible living mulch. Rake the soil to a depth of 2 inches
and seed. Water lightly and keep moist. Seed will germinate in 3 to 4
Click here for more fall lettuce information
Hot peppers will keep best if stored after
they are dry. Thread the peppers on a string to dry. Hang in a cool, dry
here for planning the fall vegetable garden
Dig new garden beds for next spring.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter, such as leaves, and leave the soil
rough to allow good water penetration. Freezing and thawing will break up
heavy clay soils. Plant a cover crop, also called a green manure, to
increase the soil's organic matter content.
Dig tender bulbs, such as cannas, caladiums,
tuberous begonias and gladiolus, before frost. Allow to air dry, and store
in dry peat moss or vermiculite
Get your tools, especially your mower, ready
for the off-season with a little simple maintenance. They'll be ready to
go to work next year when spring fever strikes.
Clean up debris in the lawn and garden. Leaves, sticks,
rocks and other late season leftovers can harm next year's lawn and harbor
pests and diseases over the winter.
Allow plants to finish the summer growth cycle in a normal
manner. Never encourage growth with heavy applications of fertilizer or
excessive pruning at this time. Plants will delay their dormancy process
that has already begun in anticipation of winter in the months ahead. New
growth can be injured by an early freeze
- Do not wait for frost warnings to move
your plants indoors. Temperatures of 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower can
damage many tropical house plants.
- The end of summer is a good time to examine your garden
critically and plan for next year--while your triumphs and disappointments
are still fresh in your mind. Take pictures, make notes. Which
combinations worked? Which didn't work so well?
- To prevent damage to bulbs from moles
tunneling in your flower beds, treat the soil with an insecticide to
kill the grubs. To avoid damage from mice or other vegetarian rodents,
plant the bulbs in cans. Cut both ends from large fruit-drink cans. Bury
the cans to their rims. Fill about one-third full of soil, place one
bulb in each, and cover to the surface with soil
Shrubs and Trees:
Mid-September through mid-October is a great
time to plant or transplant trees and shrubs. Plants moved or planted new
now will have up to two months to settle in and spread their roots before
they go dormant. Prepare a hole twice the diameter of the root ball but at
the same depth and water thoroughly. Mulching will help protect against
large fluctuations in soil temperature and moisture. Be sure to stake or
guy-wire tall plants to protect them from strong winds.
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- Do not prune azaleas, rhododendrons and other spring flowering shrubs
because they have already set their buds for next year's blooms. If you
feel these shrubs do need to be pruned, however, you can prune them now,
but you will sacrifice next spring flowers
As the weather cools, begin watering
established trees and shrubs less often, giving them time to harden off
for winter, but continue to water evergreens until the ground freezes
hard. Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their needles
throughout winter and must have adequate water in their root zones to
avoid winter burn or desiccated needles
Seasonal loss of inner needles on
conifers is normal at this time. It may be especially noticeable on pines.
roses require special care in the fall. In early fall, suspend
fertilization. Continuing to fertilize causes new growth that could be
killed by winter's cold. After foliage drops, spray with fungicide, then
cover plants with a minimum of 8" of loose, well-drained soil,
mulch or compost. Prune canes back to 36" to prevent damage from
Stop deadheading your roses now. When the
blooms wither you can pluck the petals to keep the bush looking neat.
Leaving the dead buds on the bush signals it to make seeds (rose hips)
and to start hardening off for winter. If you wish to feed them just use
a very dilute water soluble fertilizer (half strength or less) and spray
it on the leaves for a foliar feed, but don't continue this much longer
than past the middle of September.
Select accent plants for your landscape that
will provide autumn colors. Trees that have red fall color are flowering
dogwood, red maple, sugar maple, Norway maple, red oak and scarlet oak.
Shrubs with red fall foliage include sumac, viburnum, winged euonymus and
Prune oak trees in the dormant season so as
not to increase the risk of oak wilt. Pruning from September to early
March is recommended because pruning during the growing season attracts
bark beetles, which transmit the oak wilt fungus. Oak wilt is a potential
threat in the Midwest and can kill mature oaks in one season
Early autumn is the best time of the year for the sowing of grass
seed. Grass sown in spring is often killed by hot, dry, summer weather.
For more vigorous growth, spread a very thin mulch of clean straw over
newly seeded areas. The straw shades delicate seedlings from the hot sun
and helps preserve moisture in the soil, yet lets enough light through for
germination. By the time cold weather arrives, the grass is fairly well
established and ready to grow and thicken early the following spring
Check out video on lawn
It is time to apply herbicides to your lawn for winter annual or perennial
weeds that germinate or form rosettes in turf during the fall. Check
herbicide labels before using, and select an appropriate chemical for the
weed types and lawn type in your yard.
- Don't allow leaves to accumulate on the lawn. Rake them up regularly, and
store in a pile for use as mulch in your garden next summer. If leaves
accumulate on your lawn and become matted down by rain, they may kill the
Poinsettias saved from last year can be reflowered for this year's holiday
by placing them in total uninterrupted darkness for 15 hours a day,
starting the last week of September and continuing through Thanksgiving.
Do NOT leave the plants in darkness all day!
Click here for helpful info on poinsettia care
Move houseplants indoors before nighttime
temperatures are consistently in the 50's.
Begin readying houseplants for winter
indoors. Prune back rampant growth and protruding roots. Check for pests
and treat if necessary. Houseplants should be brought indoors at least one
month before the heat is normally turned on.
Start taking cuttings of your annual plants
to bring indoors and carry through the winter. Geranium, coleus, fuchsia,
and other plants do best when stem cuttings are rooted and kept in pots
indoors through the winter. Be sure to place pots where they receive
plenty of light
Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cactus can be forced into bloom for the
Thanksgiving holidays. Provide 15 hours of complete darkness each day, for
instance, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., for approximately eight weeks. Keep
temperature at about 60 to 65 F. Temperatures of 55 F will cause flower
buds to set without dark treatment.
for Christmas cactus care sheet
for info on general houseplant care
Insect and Disease Control
Fall webworm caterpillars have been covering shade trees with webs
throughout much of Ohio. These caterpillars are fuzzy, with black dots on
their backs and can extend to about 1 1/2" by the time they complete their
For more info
If your iris leaves
are flopping, you may have iris borers. Moths lay eggs on the leaves
in the spring. When the eggs hatch, the larvae move down the foliage and
bore in the fleshy root, eating it and rotting it out. Dig up plants, cut
out the larvae and damaged roots. Replant healthy roots. Do not mulch
irises. Consider spraying next spring with an insecticide to prevent
borers next year.
Slug time again! Clean
up debris, old pots and places they can hide. With a lack of rain, the
heavy dews bring them out to feast. Controlling slugs now, during their
breeding season, should result in fewer next year
for Ohio State Extension Fact Sheet on controlling slugs and other insects
Click here for article on controlling pests in the vegetable garden
To reduce nuisance wildlife problems, seal off places wildlife can enter
like chimneys and under porches. The Wildlife Conflicts Information
Hotline (1-800-893-4116) is an excellent resource.
Continue attracting insect eating birds to the garden area by providing
them with a fresh water source.
With cooler temperatures, uninvited guests may make their way into your
home. Many home maintenance practices done now will winterize the house
and help prevent insect entry
Skunks, raccoons and other animals are attracted to grubs and may tear up
lawns in search of them.
For more info on controlling these pests
- Animals such as chipmunks, ground
squirrels and voles like to feast on bulbs. Deter them by planting
daffodils, squills, grape hyacinths and crown imperial bulbs; such plants
are known to have a taste these animals dislike. The crown imperial has a
horrible smell, and below-ground diners are known to avoid it. Interplant
crown imperials among tulips and other "tasty" bulbs.
- Leave seed heads on your black-eyed
susans; they're a great food source for goldfinches