Landscape Calendar


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Look through the catalogs that start arriving around this time of the year. If you are planning to start some annuals from seed, now is a good time to order.
  • Starting annual seeds indoor can be done with a seed starting system already built, or you can make your own with fluorescent lights. Just keep the light about 6 inches above the seeds. Seeds should have warm temperatures to germinate, a bottom heat blanket works well.
  • Check any annuals that you are overwintering as houseplants, such as geraniums or coleus and water lightly and pinch to stimulate branching. Check on the overwintering bulbs and discard any soft or rotten ones.
  • If you stored bulbs in the fall for forcing (see October), bring them indoors. Put them in a bright location and water them as needed.
  • It is still too early to plant, but never to plan. Perhaps this is the year when you decide to have a row of raspberries or plant an apple tree. Catalogs are coming in, so take advantage of them and develop a plan for this season.
  • Remove broken or damaged branches that might have suffered in a heavy snowfall.
  • Start planning your vegetable garden now and order any seeds you may need.
  • If you do not have a seed starting system and want to make your own, it is a good time to do so. Refer to “Annuals in January” for more details.
  • January is a good time to evaluate your past lawn needs and performance. Are you comfortable with the amount of work you put into your lawn last year? How about the results? If the answer is yes, then relax, the lawn is taking a break and so should you. If the answer is no, then now is a good time to contact us.
  • If you find yourself dealing with snow, shoveling is better than using deicing salts, as this can cause serious issues to your lawn.
  • If you have dogs, a common winter practice for dog owners is to let them out just outside the door to “do their business.” Dog urine is very detrimental to Lawns and you will see the consequences in the spring, in the form of a big patch of dead lawn by the door. Walk your dog around the property so she is not confined to just one area.
  • If you are planning to start Perennials indoors from seeds, you can check the directions in “Annuals in January” for more details.
  • The Perennial Plant Association each year selects one plant as the perennial of the year. They are selected based on their ease of propagation, multi-season interest and their adaptability. Consider adding some of these to your garden. The 2013 perennial of the year is Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ or Variegated Solomon’s seal. Visit their website to learn more
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Does your garden have enough winter interest from Shrubs and Trees? Some have beautiful bark, or colorful branches, or persistent fruit. Consider visiting parks, arboretums or botanic gardens that offer winter walks to get some ideas on what to plant this season to add more winter interest to the garden.
  • Monitor the landscape for animal damage and make a note to prevent it next winter. Spray repellents to deter animal browsing.
  • Check for presence of pests, such as Eastern tent caterpillar egg masses and prune and destroy the branches where they are attached. Do the same for black knot cankers on plums and cherries, taking care to prune well into healthy tissue.
  • Remove broken or damaged branches that might have suffered in a heavy snowfall.
See more of January


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • You can start seeds of impatiens, petunias, wax begonias and gerberas by mid February. Make sure you use sterile soil mix and bottom heat for better germination. Have the florescent lamps ready for when the seedlings start emerging.
  • Continue checking the annuals and bulbs you’ve been overwintering. And speaking of overwintering annuals, you can start rooting cuttings of some of them (such as coleus), by cutting a 4-6 inch long piece, dipping them in rooting hormone and sticking them in sterile soil mix.
  • Some bulbs can be planted starting next month, so finalize your order now.
  • Continue to remove forced bulbs out of cold storage and bring them indoors.
  • Remove broken or damaged branches that might have suffered in a heavy snowfall.
  • Planting will begin soon. In the mean time, think of Fruits you may want to have in containers, such as strawberries or even patio-style raspberries like the dwarf, thornless “Raspberry Shortcake.” This might be a good time to source some cute containers for this purpose.
  • Seeding time is almost here. Make sure you have what you need in addition to the seeds. Look for good quality seed starting mix and clean pots or trays.
  • As the snow starts to melt, check where the low spots are and whether or not water pools in certain areas. Mark these low areas and think about filling them with good soil when the spring comes.
  • As with Lawns, check for spots where water pools as the snow recedes and plan to plant Perennials that will take those conditions.
  • If you have started Perennials from seed, keep an eye on the seedlings for signs of damping off. This fungal problem can be avoided by using sterile seed mix and clean containers.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Remove broken or damaged branches that might have suffered in a heavy snowfall.
  • Keep monitoring for animal damage. As the snow recedes, check the base of tress and shrubs for signs of mice or vole damage and make a note for future protection.
  • Check for and destroy Eastern tent caterpillar and gypsy moth egg masses. Remove any black knot cankers.
  • Add a touch of color to your house with pruned branches of Forsythias, Magnolias, Quince or any other spring bloomers. The warmth of the house will force them to bloom early if you put them in water.
See more of February


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Check your seedlings for damping off and remove the infected ones promptly from the germination tray. Keep the fluorescent lights 6 inches above the little plants.
  • If you have been overwintering annuals as houseplants, re-pot them if needed and apply diluted liquid fertilizer.
  • Start Canna rhizomes, Dahlias and Caladiums tubers in pots, indoors. Keep them in a warm location and do not overwater them.
  • Some spring bulbs like crocus, may be blooming in the garden. Go out and take a look!
  • If you order any bare root trees, it is always better to request they be delivered in April, so wait just a little longer. Otherwise, if you have received them, make sure you keep them in a cool location with moist straw or mulch over their exposed roots.
  • Start from seeds indoors: onions, broccoli, early cabbage, cauliflower, celery, peppers, eggplant and lettuce. Remember to keep the soil warm when possible so germination is more successful.
  • Remember that machine tucked in the forgotten corner of the garage, the one with a blade on the bottom? You may want to dust it off and take it in for a check-up and a tune-up. Sharpening the blades of your mower is advisable at least once a season.
  • Another tool you may want to get reacquainted with is your rake. You’ll be using it soon to remove the gravel from the snow plow.
  • As with annuals, check your seedlings for damping off and remove the infected ones from the germination tray.
  • If the snow has melted and you are eager to get out to the garden you can cut back whatever Perennials where left for winter interest. Some of these include Russian sage, tall grasses, Astilbes, etc. Otherwise, you can wait until April.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • If you have had problems with scales in the past, you can spray lime sulfur from now until the plants begin to grow. After the plants break dormancy, the lime sulfur can be phytotoxic, so do it sooner rather than later. Do not spray it on Viburnums as they are sensitive to it. Dormant oils can also be sprayed in the same fashion to control overwintering insects, as long as temperatures are above 40 degrees and will remain there for at least 12 hours. If you are planning to use any type of pesticide, make sure you read the entire label and follow directions.
  • Continue monitoring Eastern tent caterpillar and gypsy moth egg masses and black knot cankers.
See more of March


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • It is still too early to plant outdoors, but you can continue seeding. Start Zinnias, Marigolds, Dusty Miller and Snapdragons indoors early in the month.
  • If crocuses have not bloomed in the garden, they surely will this month. Other bulbs like hyacinths may start blooming too. Make sure you don’t miss them. You may want to apply animal repellent as bunnies like to munch on them.
  • Keep your Easter Lily even after it loses all its flowers. You can plant it outside in a few weeks and it will bloom for you every year… just not for Easter, rather more towards June – July.
  • Prune and thin your summer and ever-bearing raspberries by removing the canes that bore fruit last summer. Leave the new ones as these are the ones that will fruit this season. The fall-bearing raspberries need to be pruned to the ground in November.
  • It is also a good time to prune blueberries and grapes.
  • Fertilize before growth begins and stay on top of the weeds, especially in the strawberry beds.
  • Remove any plant protection you might have used in the fall such as tree wraps, deer nets or burlap.
  • If you have apple trees and have had issues with apple scab in previous years, now is the time to start your spray program, as soon as the leaves begin to expand. A systemic fungicide is recommended, and as always, read the label and make sure it is approved for apple scab.
  • Prepare the garden soil by adding your amendments and tilling if necessary.
  • Plant asparagus outside. You can also direct seed carrots, chard, kohlrabi, leaf lettuces, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radish and spinach. I would recommend turnips too, but who eats turnips?
  • You can also begin harvesting your three-year old asparagus now and the established rhubarb.
  • Aerating your lawn will not only allow for more air and water to reach the roots of the grass, but will also keep some weeds out as some like it compacted (crabgrass, for example). April is a good time to do this.
  • De-thatching is recommended only if the layer of thatch exceeds ¾ of an inch. If not, leave it as it is actually beneficial for the lawn because it conserves water and regulates soil temperatures. What you will most likely have to do, instead of de-thatching, is raking, especially on the edges where the plow might have dumped road gravel.
  • Seeding and overseeding is better done in the Fall, but the second best time to do it is right now, so that the seedlings have time to adapt before the high temperatures of the summer kick in.
  • If you apply crabgrass pre-emergent treatments, do so when Forsythias are getting ready to bloom. Crabgrass germinates right around that time, so do not let it.
  • Wait until the grass begins to grow to fertilize.
  • Begin digging and dividing your Perennials as soon as you see new growth starting to come. Moving and transplanting can also be done as soon as the soil thaws.
  • If some of your Perennials are not yet starting to grow, do not despair. Some are very slow to get going, such as Russian Sage, Amsonias, and Butterfly Weeds. Give them some time.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen, to reduce the weed pressure for the season.
  • Renew the mulch on your perennial beds.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • If you are planting trees and shrubs, remember to call the Diggers Hotline first (800-242-8511). They will mark all underground utilities so you won’t have any problems when you dig.
  • You may begin planting some of the hardier varieties now, but be watchful of the beautifully flushed trees and shrubs you may see in the garden centers, they come from warmer climates and will not tolerate a possible frost. You may need to wait until the end of next month or even June in some parts of the state. Make sure no frost is in the forecast before planting them.
  • Stop applications of dormant oils as growth begins, since it can harm the plants.
  • Corrective and training pruning can be done in trees and shrubs now, but wait until the spring bloomers are done flowering to prune them. These include Forsythia, Lilacs, Bridal Wreath Spireas and Magnolias. If you prune them now, you will not get any blossoms.
  • Re-new the mulch around your trees and shrubs being careful to keep it at least4 inches away from the trunk.
  • You can begin fertilizing now. A slow-release fertilizer will provide nutrition for your plants all season long.
  • Remove any plant protection you might have used in the fall such as tree wraps, deer nets or burlap.
See more of April


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Planting time is finally here. Check the weather forecast to make sure that no frost is expected and make sure the soil has been properly prepared and amended prior to planting.
  • You may want to remove some flowers now, to encourage more vegetative growth and let them bloom more profusely later in the season.
  • You can also start planting those bulbs you ordered earlier: Caladium, Callas, Dahlias, Gladiolus and tuberous begonias.
  • You can start planting containers and bare root fruit trees and shrubs at the end of the moth.
  • Replenish mulch around fruit trees and shrubs. Add shredded leaves or similar to strawberries and raspberry plantings.
  • Fertilize with slow release fertilizer for season-long feeding.
  • You can direct seed beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet corn, lettuce and cucumber, and transplant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, pumpkin, squash and tomatoes at the end of the moth. Take care with the bean and corn seed to sow them when the soil is warm, as quick germinating seeds are less susceptible to corn maggot damage.
  • Think about covering broccoli and cabbage with a vegetable fabric, to prevent cabbage worms from reaching the plants.
  • Water if necessary and fertilize with a good vegetable fertilizer.
  • If you planted radishes and lettuce seeds last month, you may be able to start harvesting sometime this month.
  • Late May is the time to fertilize. Use a non phosphorus fertilizer for established Lawns.
  • If you have broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions or creeping Charlie, a timely application of herbicide will go a long way. Make sure you apply it when temperatures are above 40 F but bellow 70 F to reduce the possibility of harming nearby plants.
  • Mowing season is here, and with that it is important to remember a few basic principles. Mow high, at least 3 inches if not 4. This will allow the grass blades to shade each other and the grass will require less water. Do not remove the grass clippings when you mow as they provide as much as 2 pounds of nitrogen to the lawn (half the amount it needs in a year).
  • If you water your lawn, make sure you do so infrequently and for long periods of time, so you water deeply. You can do without it, unless the summer months are especially hot.
  • Following these recommendations will help your lawn withstand harsh conditions, suppress pests and diseases and out-compete weeds.
  • If you’ve had issues with May/June beetle grubs, you should consider applying a preventative herbicide such as Merit at the end of the month, since eggs will start hatching early June. For Japanese beetle grubs, a preventative treatment is usually applied in August, but if you saw damage last fall, you may want to apply an insecticide during this time as a rescue treatment.
  • Late May is a good time to plant new Perennials.
  • Continue dividing Perennials as needed, as well as transplanting or moving.
  • Apply slow release fertilizer.
  • Put stakes, cages or trellises in place. Don’t wait until the plant is fully grown to do this, as you can injure the tender foliage.
  • Pull weeds as soon as you see them.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Continue planting and transplanting as needed and do not neglect to water as you do.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs after blooming is finished.
  • Continue removing egg masses of Eastern tent caterpillar. The eggs hatch by the time the Saucer Magnolia is in bloom.
  • Watch Mugo pines for European pine sawflies. You can prune out the infested branch and destroy it.
  • Watch for pine needle scale and treat with insecticidal soap around the time when Bridal Wreath Spirea is in bloom.
  • Watch for phomopsis blight on junipers and prune out infected branches well bellow the canker and into healthy tissue.
  • Do a renewal pruning on suckering shrubs such as lilacs.
See more of May


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Early June is a busy planting season for annuals, so get going. Make sure you water them often and add a layer of mulch, such as cocoa bean, to preserve soil moisture. Cocoa bean mulch also helps to condition the soil once it is worked in the following season.
  • Incorporate a slow release fertilizer into the soil just before planting.
  • Remove any diseased plants as you see them.
  • Autumn crocus and bearded Iris bulbs can be planted now.
  • Stake tall annuals such as dahlias or gladiolus as they need it.
  • Continue planting new fruit trees and shrubs.
  • Start harvesting strawberries as they become ready. Do so every other day.
  • Thin apples by removing fruit and only leaving one or two per cluster, or leave one fruit every 6-8 inches along the stem.
  • Biting into an apple and finding a worm is not as bad as biting into an apple and finding half a worm. If the “extra protein” in the apples is a problem for you, you will need to start applying insecticides to your trees early enough. Other ways to minimize damage is to place sticky traps in the trees and to rake and destroy fallen fruit. This will reduce the pest population.
  • Finish planting the garden (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc.) and the herbs.
  • Sow seeds of Kale and Collards.
  • Thin rows of Vegetables seeded previously.
  • Start picking the outer leaves of leaf lettuces and spinach plants as the outer leaves reach 6-8 inches.
  • Now that the soil is warm, you can mulch your vegetable garden if you wish. Use cocoa bean mulch or lawn clippings (herbicide free), or even straw. Mulching when the soil is still cold can stunt the growth of some Vegetables.
  • Check for asparagus, cucumber and potato beetles. Remove and destroy them.
  • Cover broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts to prevent cabbage worms, or treat them with bacillus thuringiensis.
  • Watch for slugs and use sluggo for control. Other options include diatomaceous earth, or the old buried beer container trick.
  • Remove suckers from indeterminate tomatoes and continue throughout the season.
  • If you didn’t fertilize last month, do it now.
  • Mow high; do not remove clippings; water deep and infrequently.
  • You may start seeing ant hills. They are usually not a problem for the lawn but can be a nuisance. If so, you can control with ant killers in the form of powder, granulates or even liquid.
  • Continue planting new Perennials.
  • Check columbines for leaf miners and prune back infested plants after flowering.
  • Deadhead early blooming Perennials to encourage re-bloom, or to reduce re-seeding (Bleeding Heart).
  • Pinch back Shasta daisies, Monardas and Phlox to encourage branching and to stagger bloom times.
  • Disbud Peonies, to get fewer but bigger blooms.
  • Monitor sensitive plants for powdery mildew (such as Monardas or Phlox). Thin to promote air circulation and use a preventative fungicide, such as Neem Oil or potassium bicarbonate.
  • Watch for aphids, spittlebugs, and mites. Sometimes all you need is to hose them down with a strong blast of water, but if the populations are too high, consider using insecticidal soap.
  • Watch for slugs and use slug baits if necessary (Sluggo works well).
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Continue planting as needed.
  • Monitor water needs and irrigate as necessary.
  • Check Burning Bush for signs of euonymus caterpillars. The webbed nest they build can easily be knocked down with a broom; otherwise Bacillus thuringiensis kills these caterpillars without harming any other insects.
  • Check for aphids, mites and spittle bugs and treat with insecticidal soap if needed.
See more of June


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Planting has slowed down, but you may find some bargains yet at the garden centers. If so, take advantage of them.
  • Harvest cut flowers to give the interior of your home a splash of color.
  • Monitor water needs.
  • If you applied a slow release fertilizer, you do not need to fertilize again. Otherwise, a liquid fertilizer that encourages blooming is recommended.
  • Finish staking tall annuals
  • Disbud dahlias for fewer but bigger blooms.
  • Start recording harvest days. This will be helpful for next year.
  • Harvest summer raspberries as the fruit become fully colored. Harvest often to avoid leaving overripe Fruits on the plants; this will reduce the incidence of pests. After removing all the fruit from the canes of summer bearing raspberries, cut them back to the ground. Leave the new canes intact as they will produce fruit next season.
  • Remove diseased canes on fall bearing raspberries.
  • Harvest cherries when they have colored up and are juicy.
  • Check watering and adjust as necessary.
  • Continue harvesting leaf lettuce and spinach, radishes and beets.
  • Pick squash and zucchini when the fruit reaches 6-8 inches long.
  • Check the broccoli and harvest when the head is full size.
  • Pick herbs as needed.
  • Continue removing suckers from indeterminate tomatoes.
  • Monitor water needs.
  • Some early tomatoes can possibly be harvested this month.
  • A summer fertilizer application can be done around the 4th of July but only if the lawn is not suffering from water stress, otherwise, you can do more harm than good.
  • Continue with the good cultural practices you have followed until now: mow high; do not remove clippings; water deep if needed.
  • Watch for May/June beetle grub damage and treat with a curative insecticide if you find 5-6 grubs per square foot of lawn. Just dig out a square foot of lawn with a shovel and inspect the first 4-6 inches of soil.
  • Monitor water needs.
  • Deadhead as necessary.
  • Prune back to the ground Perennials that go dormant in the summer (Bleeding Heart, Actaea pachypoda, etc).
  • Monitor slug presence and continue using slug bait if necessary.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Watering is important this time of the year. If you are still planting container Shrubs and Trees, you must remember that these plants are usually babied at the nursery and are watered every day. They may suffer a great transplant shock during the hot summer months if you do not pay close attention to their water needs.
  • Monitor Lilacs, Ninebarks and other shrubs for powdery mildew. This is usually no more than a cosmetic problem, but if it has been an issue in the past for you, you can use potassium bicarbonate before it appears and follow the label instructions on frequency of application.
  • Prune Arborvitaes, Junipers and Yews once the new growth has expanded.
  • Watch for aphids, spittlebugs, and mites. Treat with insecticidal soap if necessary.
See more of July


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • August can be very hot in some years. Some annuals will stop blooming if the temperatures get to be too high. This is normal. You may want to change your planting location next year if this happens often for you.
  • Keep an eye on the watering needs.
  • Continue to dead head as needed and to cut flowers for indoor enjoyment.
  • Start thinking about fall annuals (such as mums, ornamental kale, etc.) as these can be planted at the end of the month or in September. You may want to place your order soon.
  • Harvest apples just before they fully mature. Pears should be picked before they turn yellow. Peaches and plums can too be harvested this month.
  • Blueberries can be harvested when they are fully colored.
  • Potatoes can be harvested as the tops die. Onions can be dug when the tops fall over.
  • Tomatoes and peppers will be ready for harvest.
  • Zucchini continues to produce fruit, so you keep on picking. Same with cucumbers.
  • Continue removing suckers from indeterminate tomatoes.
  • Some early eggplants may be ready. You can harvest them when they reach 6-8 inches long and have a nice glossy skin.
  • If Japanese Beetles grubs have been a problem in the past, now is the time to apply a preventative insecticide, so that it is in place just before egg hatch. If you see damage later on, you will have to apply a curative insecticide. You may also need to make a rescue treatment in April-May if the problem is severe.
  • Continue with the good cultural practices you have followed until now: mow high; do not remove clippings; water deep if needed.
  • Late August and early September is the ideal time to seed or over-seed an established lawn.
  • If compaction or thatch has been a problem in the past, the fall is a great time to aerate and de-thatch.
  • Make note of those Perennials that suffered too much with powdery mildew. Think about replacing them next year with resistant varieties.
  • Continue dead heading as needed.
  • Monitor water needs.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Keep an eye on watering needs, especially on newly planted shrubs or trees.
  • Late August and into September is a good time to plant.
  • Watch for aphids, spittlebugs, and mites. Treat with insecticidal soap if necessary.
  • Avoid pruning as this may cause late season growth that could be damage by early frost. Wait until they are dormant.
See more of August


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • September is a good time to evaluate the success of your garden in general, not just annuals. Make notes on what worked and what didn’t and what may need to be replaced for next year.
  • Early September is a good time to start replacing your summer annuals with the fall annuals such as mums, kales, annual sunflowers, etc. These have a better tolerance to frost. If not, get your frost blankets out and cover your annuals when there is a risk of frost so you can extend the color as much as possible.
  • Start planting spring-flowering bulbs, such as Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Lilies, and Tulips. If possible, protect the plantings from squirrels by laying chicken wire on the planted areas. Remove it in the spring just before the plants begin to grow.
  • Dig tender bulbs such as Dahlias or Cannas. Let them dry and store them in containers with sawdust or peat. Keep them in a dark, cool location until the spring. Make sure you label them properly so you know what’s what next year.
  • Start bringing in any tender annuals you want to overwinter as houseplants, such as coleus or geraniums.
  • Continue harvesting apples, pears and plums.
  • Store fruit in a dry, cool location and keep an eye on them removing any that has gone bad.
  • Harvest grapes as they mature.
  • Fall bearing raspberries can be harvested as the fruit is fully colored.
  • Bring the herb garden inside, either by starting herbs from seed, or by digging up and repotting chives and parsley, and taking cuttings of sage, oregano or rosemary. That way you’ll continue to enjoy fresh herbs throughout the winter.
  • Harvest tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, pumpkins and watermelons.
  • Decide if you want to extend the harvest season for some veggies, and consider using or building a cold frame. You can extend harvest of crops like spinach, lettuce, radishes, etc.
  • If you needed to seed or overseed and didn’t get to it at the end of last month, there’s still time until the middle of September.
  • If compaction or thatch has been a problem in the past, the fall is a great time to aerate and de-thatch.
  • Around Labor Day, an application of fertilizer is recommended.
  • Fall is the best time to control broadleaf weeds. A broadleaf herbicide can be used more safely in the fall than in the summer when the high temperatures can volatilize it and cause harm to other plants.
  • Complete all grub treatments by mid month.
  • Fall is a great time for planting and transplanting Perennials. If you need to divide, do so early in the month, and wait until spring to divide the ones that are slow to get established (Delphiniums, Iris, Astilbes, etc.)
  • Just as with annuals, make notes on what worked and what didn’t and what may need to be replaced or moved next year.
  • If you’d rather wait until next spring to plant, you could get an early start by preparing the soil now. Remove grass or weeds in the area, till if necessary and amend with compost or shredded leaves. Do not leave the soil bare as this invites weed seeds to germinate either now or later next year, so mulch it.
  • If you have any tender Perennials, prepare to protect them from the harsh winters. You can use straw, frost blankets or evergreen boughs. You can still wait a little on this, but be prepared and keep watching the forecast.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Fall is a great time to plant and transplant… even better when the trees and shrubs are beginning to drop their leaves.
  • Rake fallen leaves and take away from the area, as this invites unwanted animals and overwintering insects and diseases.
  • Monitor water needs of new transplants.
  • Pruning can be done now, but it is usually easier and less stressful on the plants if done after leaf drop.
  • Fall is a good time to fertilize dormant, established trees.
  • Take a look around your yard and pay attention to color. Do you have enough fall color? Should you add a particular shrub to add a fall “wow effect” for next year? A Burning Bush perhaps, or an Amur Maple? Take notes for next season.
See more of September


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • If you count on annuals seeding themselves (Nicotiana, Cosmos, Alyssums, Snapdragons), it is right about now when they start doing just that. Do not till those areas and protect from fall cleanup, as the use of a leaf blower in the garden might send the tiny seeds flying away from the area.
  • Continue planting spring-flowering bulbs and protect them from squirrels using chicken wire as described in September.
  • You can also plant bulbs in pots for forcing indoors. If you pot early in October and keep the pots stored in a cool (35-45 F) area, you’ll get flowers as early as January.
  • If you haven’t done so already, bring in any tender annuals you want to overwinter as houseplants, such as coleus or geraniums.
  • Check your stored fruit for any signs of spoilage. Remove any that has gone bad to prevent the rest from doing the same.
  • Continue harvesting fall bearing raspberries.
  • Remove any diseased or broken branches from fruit trees.
  • Protect from animal damage using deer repellents, deer net and trunk wraps. These wraps can keep bucks out so they don’t rub their antlers on the bark, and also, offer some protection against smaller animals that may chew on the bark at the bottom of the tree. If necessary, use mouse bait inside bait stations.
  • Move tender herbs indoors if you want to continue enjoying them in the winter. Place them in a sunny spot.
  • If you want to make the best of your tomato plants and want to harvest as much as you can before the killing frost, you certainly can. Harvest and wrap the unripe fruit in newspaper and keep them at 60-65 F and they will ripen in a few days… or use them green! Have you ever tried green fried tomatoes?
  • Dig the root crops such as carrots, turnips, radishes and beets.
  • Harvest pumpkins when they reach a good size.
  • Protect cool-season crops under cold frames if you want to extend the harvest.
  • Remove leaves from the lawn either by raking, blowing, or simply collecting them by mowing with the bag attached to your mower.
  • A last, winterizing application of fertilizer (specially one high in potassium), is advisable in October, just make sure it is done at least three weeks prior to the ground freezing.
  • October is the best time to control Creeping Charlie using a broadleaf herbicide that specifically controls this weed (look for the active ingredient “triclopyr “, alone, or in combination with others). Creeping Charlie might continue to grow in the spring, but will soon die if it was treated.
  • Divide peonies after the frost has killed the tops.
  • Start cutting down Perennials unless you want to keep them for a bit of winter interest (like grasses, or Astilbes).
  • Remove fallen tree leaves from the perennial garden as this invites animals, overwintering insects and diseases.
  • Remove stakes, cages and other support.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Begin dormant pruning when the leaves have fallen off the trees, but do not prune the spring bloomers as you would be removing future flowers.
  • Protect from animal damage using deer repellents, deer net and trunk wraps as described in “Fruits.”
  • Remove fallen leaves to prevent overwintering animals, insects or diseases.
  • If you have trees or shrubs in containers, you will need to start bringing those indoors for overwintering.
  • Cover evergreens that are sensitive to winter burn. Use burlap and make sure the burlap is at least 2 feet away from the tree itself. Notice we say cover, not wrap. When a tree, such as an Arborvitae for example, is wrapped tightly with burlap, moisture can accumulate on foliage directly in contact with the cloth and cause damage to the plant.
  • You can still plant, but avoid the slow-to-root varieties as they will not have time to become established before the cold sets in. Things like Magnolia, Birches, Red Maple, Crabapples and Apples, Pears, Plums and Cherries, even Willows, will do better if planted in the spring.
  • Fall is a good time to fertilize dormant, established trees.
See more of October


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Keep an eye on the annual plants and bulbs you have brought in to overwinter. Make sure no disease is developing or that any whiteflies, aphids or mites have decided to spend their winter in your home as well. Treat if necessary with insecticidal soap.
  • Keep checking stored fruit.
  • Finish fall cleanup.
  • Cut fall-bearing raspberries to the ground.
  • If not done already, protect from animal damage, using repellents, deer net, trunk wraps or poisoned bait.
  • Empty containers and flats you will be reusing next year and wash with soap first, then with bleach to disinfect them.
  • Till and prepare the soil for next season.
  • Continue protecting cool-season crops under cold frames if you want to extend the harvest.
  • Continue removing leaves from the lawn.
  • Continue mowing if the grass continues to grow, otherwise, it is a good time to give your mower a thorough cleaning. Before putting it away, empty the gas tank or add a gas preservative. Also, drain and replace the oil and check the air filter.
  • Finish cleaning up and removing the foliage from Perennials.
  • Protect the more tender ones with mulch, frost blankets or evergreen boughs.
  • Bring in any potted Perennials and keep them in cool location until next spring.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Finish dormant pruning.
  • Finish removing fallen leaves.
  • If not done already, protect from animal damage, using repellents, deer net, trunk wraps or poisoned bait.
  • Bring any potted plants into winter storage.
See more of November


Annuals and Bulbs:
  • Check on annuals and bulbs stored for overwintering.
  • Check on whiteflies, aphids or mites on the overwintering plants and treat if necessary with insecticidal soap.
  • Start planning for next season and make a list of seeds, pots, trays, etc. that you will need. Maybe Santa will help!
  • Check for animal damage and improve protection if needed.
  • Remove broken or damaged branches that might have suffered in a heavy snowfall.
  • Check indoor herbs and scout for insects and diseases and water when necessary.
  • Shovel snow instead of applying salt near a lawn area whenever possible. The salt’s harmful effects will be seen in the spring.
  • Finish garden cleanup.
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Walk the garden and check for Eastern tent caterpillar egg masses and remove.
  • Check for animal damage and improve protection if needed.
  • Remove broken or damaged branches that might have suffered in a heavy snowfall.
  • If using holiday lights on your shrubs or trees, make a note to remove them in the spring as they can girdle branches if left intact. Use intermittent lights whenever possible, or better yet, LED since they radiate less heat.
  • Clean and store all garden tools.
See more of December

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