September Care Tips

I heard your comments that the fall maintenance tips looked daunting, so let’s break them down.

For this article, I wanted to highlight the 5 things you should do in September.  If you are wanting a checklist of what you need to do this fall, this article isn’t it . . . . Check out our other article “Quick Fall Maintenance Tips” at

Fall Pruning

Most of your shrubs and trees are done blooming and it is time to give them their “beginning of the school year” haircuts.  Check out our article on the different methods of pruning:

The most important part of fall pruning is to wait until the heat of the summer is done!  Just like we don’t like 90-something degree days our plants don’t either.  Please don’t stress them any more than they already are.  And at the very least make sure you are taking out any dead branches, there is no need for your trees and shrubs to be trying to send valuable nutrients to these areas when they could be storing up for winter.

Fall Planting

On the flip side of pruning is maybe those shrubs or trees that you were hoping were just late starting this year you have now realized unfortunately died.  Fall is a great time to plant new shrubs and trees.  Why?  You are giving them a head start for next year.  What do I mean by this?  By planting in the fall you are giving them just enough time to get some root mass on but they aren’t doubling down and trying to bloom or leaf out as they would be in the spring.  The caveat is that you HAVE TO WATER this winter!  Those trees and shrubs are brand new, they need some extra love this winter in order to get through till spring.

Here is a tip you won’t find in a textbook. . . . IF you won’t water or don’t have the time to care for these shrubs and trees this winter then DON’T TRY!  Wait till spring, because remember in October you will be blowing out your irrigation system so you will have to hand-water anything you plant this fall.  No judgment, sometimes this just isn’t an option.  That is okay, just do yourself and your pocketbook a favor and wait till spring.

Aerate and Overseed

Now, not every turf area is going to need this every year.  But if your lawn underperformed this year, or you are noticing some brown or yellow patches it is time to aerate and overseed.  We are not turf experts so if you are unsure, check with our great local experts with either Inspired Soil or Greenbelt Turf Farm.  But I can say (mostly from experience), make sure you reseed with the same type of grass is what is existing.  There is nothing like putting a fescue mix in the middle of your nice bluegrass lawn.  So do yourself a favor and check first.

Winterizer time!

Keeping with the turf theme, it is time to add a winterize fertilizer.  What this does is gives your grass a boost for the fall but also encourages the root system to help sustain it through the winter.  I have heard it described as putting your turf grass to bed for a long winter slumber.  Now, don’t use the same fertilizer that you put on this spring, that is meant to green up your turf and focus on the leaves, not the roots.  You specifically want a winterizer.

Now you can also put your winterizer on your garden beds because it will do the same thing for your trees and shrubs, and perennials.


Last but not least, it is time to reapply and clean up your mulch beds.  Just like aerating and overseeding, this is not necessarily something you need to do every year, but it isn’t a bad idea to fluff up or apply more mulch before the cold winter months begin.  Mulch is meant to give protection to your plants and to help hold moisture, all things that will help your garden beds get through the winter.

There you go 5 easy things you can do this month to help get your landscape ready for winter.  As always we are here to help answer your questions. 

Happy Gardening!