It’s that time of year again.  Time to pull things out of your garden, cut things away, store for next year.  As a summer lover, I’m really challenged by this time of year.  I have to consciously turn my thinking around to embrace the shortening days and cooler temperatures.

When I find myself longing for the long, warm days of July, I’ve come up with a trick.  What I do is jump ahead and compare September to February, instead of July.  In that light, like magic, September becomes one of my favourite months!  I know … it’s a really cheap trick, but suddenly 20C/70F seems pretty good.  The sun is out, it’s dry, and with a sweater, it’s actually warm out.  All you really need to do is embrace it and dress for it.  And then what you find out is that there’s a lot to discover and enjoy even in those months that aren’t your favourites.

So, here we go.  As part of my embracing of the season, here are some Fall Garden and Yard Tips:

Don’t Plant Your Spring bulbs Just Yet – The Later The Better!


Even though Spring bulbs are now available as early as August, it’s better to wait to plant them.  In fact, the later you plant, the better the chance of having blooms in the Spring.  Planting too early is risky because a Fall warm spell may encourage your blooms to start and then be killed by the first cold spell.  In most places in the U.S. and where I live, in South Jersey, it’s best to plant after Halloween and before American Thanksgiving.  In Canada, depending on where you live, it might be a little earlier.  (See my note on Plant Hardiness Zones below.)

Also, it’s a good idea to clean up any debris when you’re done planting.  You don’t want to leave any hints to the bulb-stealing squirrels that there’s something delicious for them if they dig deep enough.


Don’t Prune Anything in the Fall.


It’s tempting to prune now so that things look nice and tidy over the winter months.  However, Fall is too late to do any pruning.  Basically pruning stimulates growth when the plant should going dormant so it can survive the colder months.  Also, any new growth you stimulate by pruning is more vulnerable to the cold, which could jeopardize your entire plant.

 Also, if you have a tree that flowers in the Spring, the flower buds are already formed for next Spring, so if you trim it now, you won’t have blossoms in the Spring.  It’s better to prune these after they flower in the Spring.



Pruning Timing:

Dead of Winter: Prune dormant trees (and roses)

Spring: Summer Bloomers

Late Spring:  Prune Spring bloomers after they blossom in Spring


Plant New Trees and Shrubs Now, Instead of in the Spring.


Trees and shrubs planted in the Fall have a higher survival rate than those planted in the Spring.  Plus, a lot of plants are on sale this time of year.  Once again, earlier is better than later.  September is ideal!







Another way to survive the changing seasons is to get in tune with the Earth itself, which embraces the ebb and flow of bounty and rest.  It’s we humans that cling to our ideas of what we like and dislike.  Let’s follow nature’s example and let it be what it is and enjoy it for that alone.

Plant Hardiness Zones

When I moved from Toronto to Southern New Jersey a few years ago, there was a noticeable difference in timing of planting various plants.  In fact, I would plant my garden an entire month too late in the Spring, and then flowers wouldn’t make it because they didn’t have a chance to get started before it got too hot.  Or, I’d try to buy Mums in the Fall and I’d be too late and they’d all be sold out and done, done, done. That’s when I started paying attention toPlant Hardiness Zones’.  I still don’t get it right all the time (old habits are hard to break), but I’m getting there.  I’m also careful about providing timing advice, as it truly does depend upon where you live.

Source:  You Bet Your Garden

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