September Garden To-Do List

September Garden To-Do List

September is one of the best months on Cape Cod. The weather is often still summer-like but the nights tend to be cooler, so our yards and gardens are usually beautiful. It’s a month to appreciate our lovely seaside environment, and get some landscape tweaking done before winter arrives. Here are 10 things that are good to do at this time of year:

1. Cut brown perennials down. If your perennials have brown or yellow leaves and stems they can be cut to the ground to improve the look of the garden. If a plant has had a foliar disease such as powdery mildew, don’t put those stems and leaves in the compost – put them in a brush or future burn pile. (Note: since the Cape has been so dry it’s best not to burn anything until regular rains arrive again.)

2. Plant fall annuals for seasonal color. Cabbages and kales are especially long-lasting and their color deepens as the temperatures drop. Refresh containers with grasses, kale and fall pansies for flowers into November.

3. Plan for brining houseplants and over-wintered tropicals inside. We usually do this in late-September or early October on Cape Cod. Spray plants with insecticidal soap before moving them in, and have yellow whitefly traps and Captain Jack’s (spinosad) on hand for getting the jump on fungus gnats/fruit flies.

4. Fall lawn care: fall is the most important time to apply an application of fertilizer. If your turf hasn’t been aerated recently it’s a good idea for addressing compact soil. After aeration, apply an inch of compost and reseed any bare spaces. Apply an organic fertilizer in September.

5. If you have Rose of Sharon that commonly self-seed and become a weeding problem, cut off the seed pods now! You can get your annual pruning of this plant done at the same time by clipping off between 6 and 16″ of stem. This will remove the seed pods and the shrub will be pruned and ready for next growing season.

6. Apply a layer of composted manure around roses and any perennial that hasn’t been amended recently. This can be spread right over the remains of this summer’s mulch as long as that mulch layer isn’t too thick.

7. Transplant any deciduous shrubs that need moving now. Water these weekly into mid-November. Do not transplant evergreen shrubs in the fall, however – that’s better done in the spring.

8. If you have under-performing perennials, or perennial plants that have become very infested with weeds, now is the time to dig them up and say “Goodbye!”

9. Those who choose to do two applications of organic fertilizers per year in spring and fall can do the fall application in late-September or early October.

10. Pull finished veggie plants from the garden and plant garlic.

September is the perfect time to revive the soil health in your lawn. A top-dressing of compost works wonders, especially if your soil is sandy.

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