This Month in the Garden: September

When it comes to your yard and garden, the work never ceases, but as English Poet Alfred Austin said, “To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” Here’s a definitive list of what to do this month.

Top 3 Must-Dos

  1. Tidy up: Cut back anything that’s done doing its thing for the year. Pick up fallen fruit and toss it in the compost pile.
  2. Take note of what worked in your garden this year so that you ensure a successful growing season next year.
  3. Sow grass seed and get after those pesky weeds. (See more in Lawn Care below.)

Garden Care

  • Keep deadheading roses and dahlias to prolong blooming for another few weeks.
  • Plant fall annuals for some added color.
  • Begin digging up weather-sensitive bulbs and bringing them inside for the winter: dahlias, tuberous begonias, caladium, amaryllis, and gladiolus are all “tender bulbs.”
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils.
  • Plant or transplant peonies.
  • Divide perennials to keep them healthy. As a bonus, you’ll end up with more plants!
  • Take cuttings of your favorite plants and nurture them indoors through the winter — they’ll become next year’s starts.
  • Ixnay on the fertilizer to give plants a chance to toughen up before the frosts.

Lawn Care

  • Aerate your lawn to help air and water penetrate the soil.
  • Sow grass seed for a new lawn or to beef up your patchy lawn. (An entire summer of removing dandelions and other monster weeds can create some pretty big holes to fill.) Do this about a month before the first frost to give new grass time to settle in.
  • Speaking of dandelions and other broadleaf, perennial weeds, now (September and October) is the best time to strike to keep them from coming back next year.
  • Apply organic fertilizer — yes, grass is the exception to the fall ban on fertilizer. Grass actually experiences a growth spurt as the weather cools down and it needs some extra nourishment to get it through the winter and come back strong in the spring. Give Garden Valley Organics Turf & Garden Fertilizer [LINK] a try — we sell it in bulk.
  • Keep mowing through the end of the season. Cooler temps will entice your grass to grow more quickly than it did at the height of summer. When it gets to be three inches tall, trim an inch off the top. (Cutting grass too short can stress it out.)
  • Plant trees and shrubs (and remove any dead ones), so that their root systems become established before the first hard frost.
  • Stay on top of clean-up: When the leaves begin falling, it’s easier to rake them up (or mulch them back into the grass) in stages, rather than in one massive effort.

Harvesting & Sowing

  • Harvest the last of your summer crops and herbs.
  • Continue storing and preserving.
  • Once your vegetable garden is spent for the season, plant cover crops like alfalfa, clover, or legumes, which can be plowed into the soil come spring. Clover is especially good for honeybees, who need food to survive the winter.

Visit If...

  • You’d like to turn off your irrigation system before the deluge is upon us.
  • You need fresh soil (or soil amendments) for your brand new lawn, spring bulbs, baby trees, indoor plants, etc.
  • You need help with fall yard and garden maintenance.
  • You’ve got a trailer full of green waste and you’d like to drop it off at the Rexius Retail Yard.

What’s Coming Next Month

Compost, clean-up, cuttings, and cool-weather annuals.