Your Fall Landscaping Task List

Landscape MaintenancePlants & Shrubs

Prepare now for fall landscaping tasks. Calendar the projects, purchase supplies, and get equipment ready. You will be final-fertilizing lawns, monitoring pest activity, and dialing in irrigation schedules. You may also choose to switch out annuals and add new shrubs and trees.

Fall is just around the corner. It may not feel like it, but cooler days will be here in a month or so. Get ready for fall landscaping activities by planning for and scheduling tasks now.

Plan Cool-Season Annuals

Right now, your warm-season annuals are still looking good. Torenia, vinca, zinnias, coleus, and caladium are blooming well. If you live in central or south Florida, these will continue thriving into October. You can delay purchasing and installing cool-season annuals until late October.

If you like to grow flowers from seeds, however, now is the time to start thinking about it, especially if you plan to order supplies and seeds online. Setting up your seedling areas can be a project if you want to sow lots of seeds.

Consider these cool-season annuals for your flower beds:

North Florida: Snapdragons, Phlox, Sweet Pea, and Impatiens

Central Florida: Marigolds, Impatiens, Periwinkle, Globe Amaranth, Baby’s Breath, Asters, Scarlet Sage

South Florida: Marigolds, Impatiens, Asters, Periwinkle, Phlox, Verbena, Zinnias, Ornamental Pepper, Globe Amaranth

Final Fertilizing

Be ready for the year’s last round of fertilizing in September or October. General garden fertilizer is suitable for most trees and shrubs (12-4-8 or 15-5-15 or 15-4-8). Spread it evenly on the ground under the tree out to the drip line.

Tropical fruit trees should receive their final fertilizing in September. Put down a 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 fertilizer. (These numbers refer to the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the mix.)

For lawns, look for turf fertilizer at your local nursery, garden center, or home improvement store. St. Augustine and Bahia get their final feeding of the year in September; Zoysia in November; and Bermuda in December. Usually, the application rate is 6 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of grass.

Add New Shrubs

Want to add new shrubs? Fall is the perfect time. If you wait until October when the days are cooler, the planting process doesn’t stress shrubs as much.

Use September as the month of ground prep for new shrubs. Get rid of all weeds, either by hand-picking or spraying weed-killer. Remove plants that are failing. Dig up the soil and turn it over, adding enriching amendments such as cow manure (purchased in a bag at a nursery or garden center), grass clippings, wood chips, straw, and wood ash.

The ground will be ready for installing new shrubs in late September or October. Fall is also a good time to add new tropical fruit plants and trees.

Keep a Watch for Pests

Until the days really cool down, pests remain active. On shrubs and plants, keep a watch for aphids, mites, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. On lawns, look for chinch bugs, mole crickets, and sod webworms. Leave the beneficial insects alone: lacewings, spiders, mantids, and ladybugs. These good bugs eat the destructive ones.

Turn on Irrigation as Needed

Early September may still see afternoon showers. As the fall progresses and less rain falls, homeowners should be prepared to turn on irrigation systems. Fortunately, many systems are equipped with rain sensors. However, the grass still needs monitoring to ensure that it is receiving enough water.