Donna’s Garden Tips for September

— Written By and last updated by Donna's Garden Tips logo

Cut beans and peas back to the ground after they finish bearing. Leave the roots in the ground as they will release stored nutrients back into the soil.

garden rows cleaned up for fall

Garden Cleanup

After harvesting pumpkins and winter squash, wash them with a 10% bleach solution to prevent rot. Never sit them on bare ground or concrete.

hand washing pumpkin with cloth

Wash Pumpkin

Keep the area under fruit trees clear of tall grass and weeds to discourage meadow vole damage. Under the cover of tall plant growth these animals can quickly girdle the tree, causing death.

fruit tree with weeds and grass removed around it

Weed Around Fruit Trees

Spread newly dug potatoes out to dry for a few hours before storing them in a dark, cool area. Never store in plastic bags. Also, never wash potatoes as this shortens their storage life. If dried soil clings to the tuber, clean it off with a soft, dry brush.

row of newly dug potatoes

Newly Dug Potatoes

Do not fertilize trees and shrubs. They need to start slowing down in order to prepare for winter dormancy. New growth, late in the season could be damaged by an early freeze.

hand spreading fertilizer around a tree or shrub

Do Not Fertilize in Fall

It’s time to fertilize the lawn. 10-10-10 or slow release lawn food will do. If using 10-10-10 apply 20 lbs. per 1,000 square feet.

man pushing spreader with fertilizer across lawn

Fertilize the Lawn

Get those spring bulb orders placed. It’s still a little early to plant but if you wait until later to order or purchase, you might not get the colors you want. Put them in a cool, dark place. If storing in the fridge, never put them with apples.

assorted spring bulb flowers in a garden

Spring Bulbs

Plant cover crops such as cereal rye on bare garden ground. This keeps down weeds and will add organic matter and nutrients to next year’s vegetable garden.

cover crop on bare garden

Cover Crop

Soil tests are available at the Extension Office. If the lawn or garden has struggled this growing season, a good place to start is with a soil test. It’s simple to do and only costs the price of postage.

form and box for sending in soil test

Soil Test

September is prime time for planting turf grass or over-seeding cool-season lawns. Sowing in September gives the newly planted grass plenty of time to become established before the first freeze.

hands holding grass seed over green lawn

Grass Seed

If rhododendrons didn’t have many flowers last spring, add some triple phosphate around the base of the plant this fall. It will aid in formation of blooms for next year.

bag of hi-yield triple super phosphate

Add Triple Phosphate to Rhododendrons

It’s time to check the exterior of the home for minute cracks and entrances  before lady beetles and stink bugs begin to invade to overwinter in walls and attics. Add sweeps to garage doors and exterior doors. Caulk around window frames and doors. Make sure attic vents are secure.

door of home covered in lady beetles

Seal Around Doors and Windows

Divide peonies, leaving at least 3 eyes in each division. Plant the divisions no more than 2 inches deep. If peony flowers were scarce this season, division might be the solution to your problem.

gloved hands digging up peonies to divide them

Divide Peonies