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Fall garden, lawn and yard care

By Patte Smith; information provided by Colorado State University Extension

Now is the time of year to give a little tender loving care for gardens, lawns, trees and shrubs to ensure next year’s landscape is in good shape.

GARDEN: Keep weeding the garden, deadheading flowers, and if annuals are spent, dig them up. Be sure to check all plants for disease, remove them and pick up debris on the ground. Continue harvesting dried seeds from flowers and vegetables. Perennials can be divided and planted, and less hardy bulbs and corms such as dahlias and gladiolas need to be lifted carefully from the ground and stored inside. After digging them up, let the bulbs and corms dry for a few days and then store in sawdust or vermiculite in a cool, dry place over winter.

Some herbs can be repotted from the garden and brought inside for the winter. Be sure to treat for insects before bringing inside.

If there are bare spots, amend the soil by adding compost and turning it into the soil. In late September and throughout October, plant spring bulbs so they have time to get rooted in the soil. Mulch over the ground after the first freeze to help control soil temperature. Mums, asters and pansies add color to a fall garden and can be planted in September. In late October, mulch perennial flower beds.

LAWN: Now is also the time to aerate and fertilize your cool-season lawn of Kentucky bluegrass. Use an all-natural, slow-release fertilizer if possible. Be sure to follow directions. Lawns can be seeded in September. Mow lawns at the same height throughout the year; two and a half to three inches tall is recommended for Colorado.

Rake up most of the leaves and compost them if possible, as a thick layer left on top of grass can smother it during the winter. Spread mulch throughout perennial gardens to protect roots from freezing during the winter. Of note, there is information about fertilizing a lawn during a drought and a list of grasses that should not be fertilized in the fall on the CSU Extension PlantTalk Colorado website.

TREES AND SHRUBS: Keep deep-root watering trees and shrubs.  This should be done every month in the winter to keep the roots moist, especially during a dry winter. Prune dead branches. Check for insects and any problem with trees and shrubs and treat them before winter. Do not compost any leaves or debris that is tainted. Check a nursery for trees and shrubs that can be planted in the fall.

For more information, visit PlantTalk Colorado at



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