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September

Flowers & Ornamental Grasses

Flowers & Ornamental Grasses

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs

  • Create beautiful and edible fall garden containers. Colorful leaf lettuce, kale, mustard and vibrant Swiss chard cultivars brighten any fall combination.
  • Add short season and frost tolerant vegetables like lettuce, radishes and beets to the garden or containers.
  • Pinch out the growing tips and remove new blossoms on tomatoes and vine crops to promote ripening of the existing fruit.
  • Harvest eggplants when the fruit reaches full size and skin is glossy.
  • Pick muskmelon when the fruit stem starts to separate from the melon.
  • Harvest watermelons when the fruit are full sized, dull colored and the portion touching the ground changes from white to cream.
  • Harvest winter squash and pumpkins when fully mature and before the first damaging frost.
  • Dig sweet potatoes before the first frost.
  • Harvest full sized potatoes suitable for storing when the tops die.
  • Make one fall harvest of rhubarb before the first fall frost. Cut the stems back to ground level and add them to the compost pile after a hard freeze.
  • Continue harvesting herbs as needed and for preserving.
  • Plant garlic cloves in the middle to the end of this month.
  • Keep watering as needed. Make new plantings a priority.
  • Extend the bounty of the season by covering tender plants with floating row covers when frost is in the forecast.
  • Improve the soil in annual vegetable gardens by shredding and digging fallen leaves into the top 8 to 12” of soil once the season has ended.
  • Leave healthy asparagus stems stand for winter.
  • Harvest apples when the indentation by the stem turns from green to yellow and the fruit can easily be twisted off the branch.
  • Continue picking pears when they turn from dark green to yellowish green and before they start falling from the trees.
  • Harvest plums when fully colored and sweet.
  • Pick grapes when the tip of the bunch appears mature and tastes sweet.
  • Harvest early-ripening fall raspberries when fully colored and sweet.
  • Compost pest-free plant material.

Groundcovers & Vines

Groundcovers & Vines

Indoor & Holiday Plants

Indoor & Holiday Plants

  • Purchase some extra spring-flowering bulbs for forcing.
  • Improve your indoor air quality by adding a few easy care houseplants to your indoor garden.
  • Isolate and acclimatize plants as you move them indoors for winter. Monitor and manage pests as needed.
  • Stop watering your amaryllis if you plan to force it into bloom by letting it go dormant in a cool dark location for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Adjust your watering schedule to accommodate the changes in light intensity, daylight and other indoor growing conditions.
  • Consider investing in artificial lights if your indoor plant collection or plants moved indoors for winter have outgrown the available window space.

Lawns

Lawns

  • Fertilize your lawn with a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite, in early September to encourage healthy dense growth that is better able to compete with weeds.
  • Continue to mow high as long as your grass continues to grow.
  • Now is a great time to plant cool season grass (bluegrass, fescue and perennial rye) seed whether starting a new lawn, filling bare spots or overseeding existing turf.
  • Overseed warm season grasses with cool weather tolerant perennial rye for a green lawn all winter long.
  • September and October are excellent times to core aerate cool season lawns growing on compacted soil or with more than ½” of thatch.  
  • A healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds. If you must intervene, spot treat broadleaf weeds (dandelions, violets and plantain) growing in cool season grass lawns.
  • Wait for a hard freeze when treating creeping Charlie (ground ivy).
  • Mow, don’t rake, fall leaves. As long as the pieces are smaller than a quarter and you can see the grass blades, the lawn will be fine.

Trees, Shrubs & Roses

Trees, Shrubs & Roses

  • Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs and hardy roses. The soil is warm and air is cool, aiding in their establishment.
  • Always look up for overhead utilities and call 811, a free underground utility locating service, before digging in.
  • Evaluate the fall foliage, fruit and bark color in the landscape. Plan new additions that provide additional color to your fall landscape.
  • Replenish mulch around established plantings of trees, shrubs and roses as needed.
  • Keep watering as needed. Make new plantings, evergreens and moisture-loving plants a priority.
  • Do not fertilize trees, shrubs and roses if these plants go dormant for winter.
  • Recycle fall leaves using them as a soil mulch in perennial plantings, a soil amendment in annual gardens or convert them into compost.
  • Limit pruning to only dead, diseased or hazardous branches.
  • Those in cooler climates should stop deadheading roses allowing them to prepare for winter and form attractive rose hips to feed the birds and add color to the winter landscape.
  • Monitor trees for fall webworm. Nature usually keeps the populations in check. Remove and destroy fall webworm nests if needed.
  • Remove and destroy any gypsy moth egg masses found on tree trunks.
  • Don’t be alarmed by black and orange boxelder bugs congregating on the southside of your home. They are annoying, but not harmful.
  • Begin installing animal barriers or applying repellents as needed to protect trees, shrubs and roses from hungry wildlife.

Upcoming Appearances

Sat., October 13
Milwaukee NARI Fall Home & Remodeling Show

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