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Fall Gardening Chores  

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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The LuEsther T. Mertz Library 
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458


Noteworthy Books on Garden Maintenance and Seasonal Chores

Cover Art
50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants - Tracy DiSabato-Aust
Call Number: SB404.9 .D57 2009
ISBN: 9780881929508
Publication Date: 2009-01-07

Cover Art
A Northeast Gardener's Year - Lee Reich
Call Number: SB453.2.N92 R45 1992
ISBN: 0201550504
Publication Date: 1991-08-14

Cover Art
The 20-Minute Gardener - T. Christopher; Marty Asher
Call Number: SB453 .C42 1997
ISBN: 0679448144
Publication Date: 1997-01-28

Cover Art
The New Low-Maintenance Garden - Valerie Easton; Jacqueline M. Koch (Photographer)
Call Number: SB473 .E235 2009
ISBN: 1604691662
Publication Date: 2009-11-01

Cover Art
The Organic Lawn Care Manual - Paul Tukey; Nell Newman (Foreword by)
Call Number: SB433 .T74 2007
ISBN: 9781580176552
Publication Date: 2007-01-30


Fall Gardening Chores: September*


  • Complete orders of spring-flowering bulbs and other plants for fall planting
  • Assess areas in the garden that may need new or replacement planting
  • Work on your landscape plan for fall planting of trees and shrubs
  • Take garden notes and photographs to plan future planting

Chores and Maintenance:

  • If it is dry, practice water-wise horticultural techniques
  • Dethatch and aerate lawns to promote root growth
  • Mow lawns regularly to keep grass 2 1/2 - 3 inches high
  • Complete spot seeding and lawn restoration by September 15th
  • Collect seed from perennials and annuals
  • Cut flowers for drying: yarrow, strawflower, gomphrena, cockscomb, etc.
  • Remove and compost spent annuals and fallen leaves
  • Aerate and moisten compost pile to speed decomposition
  • Check for insect pests and treat accordingly
  • Remove fallen leaves and debris that can harbor insect pests and disease
  • Apply deer repellent
  • Take in tender aquatic plants and tropical fish from ponds
  • Begin to feed birds


  • Plant and transplant broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreens through October 15th
  • Propagate herbs from new growth and transplant into pots for winter use
  • Continue to divide and transplant early-blooming perennials
  • Divide daylilies after flowering
  • Plant lilies
  • Sow hardy annuals in prepared planting beds
  • If weather turns cool, begin planting spring-flowering bulbs (wait until late October for tulips)
  • Plant late season ornamentals, like ornamental kale and cabbage for fall color
  • Sow parsley, radish, carrot, lettuce and onions
  • Plant out seeding biennials

Pruning and Fertilizing:

  • Prune rambling roses
  • Remove diseased and dead rose canes
  • Root prune wisteria that doesn't bloom
  • Add organic matter, such as manure, compost and/or leaf mold to improve garden soil
  • Fertilize roses one last time
  • Fertilize lawns with organic fertilizer to stimulate winter root development


  • If frost threatens, pinch back houseplants and treat for insect pests as necessary before bringing indoors
  • Begin to force poinsettias for holiday display; move indoors to a sunny location and cover for 14 hours each night for a period of 6 to 10 weeks
  • Take cuttings of begonias, geraniums, solenostemon (coleus), etc. to grow as houseplants

*These gardening tips are applicable for an average year in the southeastern New York region: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6a and 6b, which include New York City, Northern New Jersey, Rockland County, Westchester County, Southern Connecticut, and parts of Long Island. Plant hardiness zones refer to geographic areas where the growing season of plants is determined by the time of killing frosts in the spring and fall. Even within zones, climatic factors such as altitude, proximity to water, wind exposure, winter sun exposure and snow cover contribute to the existence of different "microclimates" and can influence plant adaptability.

NYBG Garden Navigator

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  • NYBG Garden Navigator
    Use this resource to explore the NYBG grounds, including information about specific plants, bloom times, and garden features.
  • NYBG Garden Guides
    Guides from the Plant Information Office related to specific NYBG gardens, including their history, design, and current plantings.

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