September Gardening Tips

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The coming of Fall is a great time for many things, including the care of your property’s plants. Be ready for the change in season with these gardening tips:

  • Order Spring bulbs now to get the best selections.
  • Replenish mulch because hot temperatures coupled with watering speeds up the decomposition process. A two- to three-inch layer of mulch effectively protects plant roots against temperatures extremes, keeps weeds from germinating, and conserves water.
  • Continue to clean up fallen, old ,and rotted fruit around citrus to prevent habitats for disease and pests.
  • Walnuts ripen from mid-September to October. Remove any husks and dry in shaded area with good air circulation until kernels are brittle. They are completely dry when the papery dividers between the nutmeat halves snap rather than bend.
  • Reset irrigation clocks to adjust for changes in the weather — typically 65-70% of July’s watering.
  • Apply pre-emergence weed control in fall. Weeds compete with ornamental plants for water and nutrients and can be sources of disease and insect infestations.
  • Fall is one of the best times to install and or transplant perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, and vines, especially in frost-free locales while the soil is still warm from the summer. It is best to wait until Winter for deciduous plants. Apply a weak solution of fertilizer at time of planting for best results.
  • Fall is also an excellent time to plant California native and water-thrifty trees while the soil is still warm and just before the rainy season.
  • When selecting a container tree or shrub, do not purchase if its roots are protruding out of the drainage holes, it may be a sign of being root-bound.
  • Fall feeding helps maintain plants’ vigor and prepares them for the colder winter season.  Apply fertilizer while soil temperatures are still warm.
  • Time to dig up and compost summer vegetables as their production declines and plant fall-winter crops.
  • Fall is an ideal time to aerate and rejuvenate your lawn.
  • Time to bring frost-sensitive orchids and container tropical plants indoors where there is bright indirect light.  Before bringing outdoor plants indoors, check for insects on foliage, stems, and soil.
  • Consider replacing annuals with perennials to fill in the spaces among shrubs and under trees.
  • Deer are more likely to visit gardens to browse in autumn as their food sources become more limited and your garden plants become more attractive. Plant deer-resistant plants like Ceanothus ‘Blue Sapphire’ or Rhamnus californica ‘Mound San Bruno’. There are many deer repellants on the market — some work better than others — getting direct referrals about success stories is a good idea.