Fall Gardening Ideas & Tips

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Spring is generally the prime gardening season for most of us.

The start of warm weather and the end of “cabin fever”  launch me out into the yard and virtually every garden center in the area.

However, fall is a great time to garden as well.

The cooler temperatures and more plentiful rain make it the best time of the year to plant trees, shrubs, perennials and grass seed.

Proper fall gardening can also make spring chores much easier.

Planting bulbs like daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinth in the fall will set the stage for a gorgeous spring flowering display.

Here are some of my favorite fall gardening tips:

  • Seed bare spots in the lawn. The cooler fall temperatures will make it easier to keep the grass seed moist. This facilitates germination and the development of a strong root system before winter.


  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Not only is fall the best to time to plant these, but it is the best time to buy them. Garden centers are anxious to sell the inventory before winter. It isn’t uncommon to see discounts of 50% or more.


  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, crocus and many more. Once planted, these can re-bloom for many years. Once spring arrives, you will be so glad you did!


  • Spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths can also be grown indoors to enjoy in early spring. Purchase bulbs in fall and place in a refrigerator for 10-12 weeks to mimic a winter season. They can then be planted in pots and displayed in the home. Blooms emerge within a few weeks. Click here for instructions.

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  • Remove weeds from all flower beds. I will pull and spray weeds as long as the weather permits each fall. Doing this helps eliminate the perennial weeds that can return in spring. There are several weeds that thrive in the cooler temperatures, so I want to make sure those don’t have a chance to develop seeds and spread. Also applying a granular weed preventer such as Preen to your garden beds in early November (for Midwest U.S.) will minimize weed germination over the winter and into early spring.


  • Wait to trim back ornamental grasses until early spring before the new growth emerges. Their beauty can bring much-needed interest to the fall and winter landscape.



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  • If you are considering adding a new vegetable or flower bed, start in the fall. Remove sod and add compost so that minimal prep work will need to be done in the spring.


  • Freeze and dry herbs for use all winter.


  • Divide perennials that are overgrown. Share extras with a friend!


  • Plant a crop of fall vegetables. Lettuce, spinach and other greens are an easy way to start.


  • Start a compost bin to turn autumn leaves into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that you can apply to garden beds in spring. This is not only extremely environmentally friendly, it is also the best way to improve the overall soil’s condition.


  • Remove dead branches from trees and shrubs.


  • Sharpen lawn mower blades to keep grass looking its best.


  • Start a gardening notebook or journal to document successes, ideas or challenges that you want to make note of for the next season.


  • If you have collected a mountain of plastic containers and trays from the season’s plant purchases, many local garden centers and home improvement stores have collection bins to recycle them.


  • Visit your favorite local garden centers for end-of-season sales. This is a great opportunity to buy furniture, decorative containers and gardening essentials at great prices.


  • Sharpen pruners each fall so that you start each spring ready to cleanly trim trees and shrubs.


  • For houseplants that were displayed outdoors for the summer- begin to move them to a shadier location to acclimate them to the lower light levels. Bring houseplants inside before the first frost to avoid damage or killing the plant.


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2 thoughts on “Fall Gardening Ideas & Tips”

  1. I really like the tips ou have given and you do make it easy to understand, thank you for those tips.


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