Monthly Archives: September 2016

Stink Bugs

Temperatures are dropping and stink bugs are seeking a warm habitat for the winter. Your home is the perfect location, but if you’d rather not invite these pests to your garden or inside your house, there are steps you can take to make them less welcome.

About Stink Bugs

Stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) emerge in the early spring and mate from April to May. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves in masses of 20-30 and they produce just one generation per year. Adult stink bugs can cause serious crop damage to vegetables and fruits as well as to ornamental plants. In the fall and up until the first frost, stink bugs begin moving inside to overwinter.

The best way to control stink bugs is to address the situation before they enter the home. If you can eliminate the bugs before they become established, you can save a good deal of money, time and trouble.

Before Stink Bugs Make Themselves at Home

In late summer and early fall, you can take steps to keep stink bugs out of your home. Hard freezes and the deep cold of winter will help keep the bug population smaller, so they will be easier to control in the spring if you have not allowed them to comfortably overwinter indoors.

  • Seal all cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, chimneys, dryer vents, air conditioning units, and any other possible entrance point.
  • Repair or replace all damaged window and door screens, as well as all weather stripping in doorways and windows.
  • In the fall, spray a synthetic pyrethroid on all exterior home surfaces to prevent stink bugs from entering through any missed openings. Sunlight breaks down insecticides, therefore, weekly applications are necessary until winter’s cold sets in.

If stink bugs do enter the home, don’t worry, this insect is only considered a nuisance insect to humans as they do not bite, sting or create structural damage. When threatened, however, they do emit a defensive odor that is very unpleasant and can permeate a room quickly. Fortunately, stink bugs will not procreate over the winter, so even if they are found in the house, they can be easy to control and an infestation is not inevitable.

After Stink Bugs Move In

It can be frustrating to see a stink bug in the house, especially if you have taken steps to try and keep them out. Fortunately, it is easy to remove them.

  • When a stink bug is spotted, gently pick it up using a tissue, being careful not to squish the insect (which would release its noxious odor). Flush down the toilet to dispose without smelly results.
  • Attempt to locate the stink bug’s entrance area, usually found around window and door trim, cracks behind baseboards, exhaust fans, ceiling lights and fans. Thoroughly seal that opening with caulk so no other bugs can enter.

Using strong insecticides inside the home is not recommended because of the risk of contamination and harm to pets, children, houseplants and food. Since these bugs do not breed in winter, however, hand-picking any intruders will quickly clear out the unwanted guests, and next fall you can continue to stink-bug-proof your home with ease.

Deterring Deer

Deer may be beautiful and elegant, but they aren’t always welcome in the garden. Even just a few visiting deer can tear up a landscape, eat an entire crop, destroy a carefully cultivated bed and cause other havoc, such as creating a traffic hazard, damaging bird feeders or leaving behind unwanted “gifts” on sidewalks and pathways. But how can you keep deer out of your yard and away from your garden and landscape?

Popular Deer Deterrent Techniques

People try all sorts of home-grown methods to keep deer from destroying their landscape and gardens. Some of the more common tactics include…

  • 8 ft. fencing, including wire or electric fences
  • Big, loud dogs on guard in the yard
  • Deer repellents such as commercial chemicals
  • Predator urine or other anti-deer scents
  • Motion detectors connected to lights or sprinklers

All of these methods work but are limited in their effectiveness. Fencing is costly and unsightly. Repellents and urine wash away. Sprinklers or lighted areas can be easily avoided. So what can you do to keep deer away permanently?

Deer are creatures of habit and they are easily scared. Anything you can do to mix up their habits or make them think there is danger nearby might be enough to make them go elsewhere in search of food. But deer aren’t foolish and if they realize the danger isn’t real, they will return. Therefore, you must rotate any scare tactics you try and reapply repellents frequently. This can be a lot of work to keep your garden safe, but you can make your garden do the work for you.

Plants Deer Won’t Like

While deer in large herds with insufficient food will eat almost any garden vegetation, particularly in harsh winters, you can opt for plants that aren’t popular with deer to minimize deer damage. At the same time, avoid planting favorite deer plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, yews, roses, Japanese maples, winged euonymous, hemlocks and arborvitae, as well as any edible garden produce.

So what can you plant in your landscape to discourage deer? There are many attractive plants deer will avoid, including…


  • Chinese Paper Birch
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Dragon Lady Holly
  • Douglas Fir
  • Japanese Cedar
  • San Jose Holly
  • Serviceberry
  • Scotch Pine

Shrubs & Climbers

  • Barberry
  • Bearberry
  • Blueberry Elder
  • Boxwood
  • Caryopteris
  • Common Buckhorn
  • Creeping Wintergreen
  • European Privet
  • Japanese Andromeda
  • Japanese Plum Yew
  • Leucothoe
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Russian Olive

 Try using these less deer-friendly plants to create a dense border around your yard and garden area, and deer will be less inclined to work their way toward the tastier plants. When combined with other deterrent techniques, it is possible to have a stunning landscape without being stunned by deer damage.

Why Lime?

You’ve fertilized your lawn meticulously, but it is still weak and thin. What else do you need to do? Lime may be the answer.

Why Lime Works Better Than Fertilizer

How do soils become acidic? Over the years, calcium and magnesium, the alkaline components in the soil, become replaced by hydrogen and are lost in drainage water, either naturally or through excessive irrigation. Also, while nitrogen is essential for good growth of grass, heavy applications make the soil more acidic. Not only does lime correct the acidity of the soil by reducing the toxic amounts of aluminum, manganese and iron, but it also supplies calcium and magnesium, which are essential for plant growth. Other benefits of applying lime include less leaching of potassium, making phosphorus more available to growing plants and speeding the decomposition of organic matter in the soil for reuse by plants.

Fertilizers can’t do the whole job of keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful because they can’t raise the pH of acidic soil. Poor lawns, including thin or patchy growth, are often the result of acidic soil. Lime is an excellent, easy way to correct low soil pH.

Liming in Fall

Fall is the best time for liming your lawn because the soil expands and contracts as the temperature fluctuates during the winter months. This motion works the lime into the soil. Also, the increase of moisture during the fall and winter helps “percolate” the ground and coats the soil with lime particles, more evenly distributing the lime so all the soil is improved.

Lime comes in three forms: pulverized, which is a fast-acting powder recommended for the garden; granular, which is sugar-textured and dust-free; and pelletized, which is fast-acting and dust free. Granular and pelletized forms can be applied to the lawn with a drop or rotary spreader. Application rates for the different types of soil are listed right on the back of the product bag. Generally, fifty pounds of lime per thousand square feet will raise the pH ½ of a point.

How can you find out if your soil is too acidic? Bring in a soil sample, ½ cup taken from a depth of 6 inches, for a free pH test or, for a complete analysis of your soil, contact your county agent for a Soil Test Kit. When you better understand your soil’s pH and how lime can help, we’ll be happy to assist!

Fall Lawn Care

Fall is the best time of the year to overseed your existing lawn or establish a new lawn. If your lawn is a bit thin, has bare patches or needs good care, now is the time to take care of it so it can become thoroughly established before warm temperatures arrive in spring.

Overseeding A Weak Lawn

A weak lawn may have thin or scraggly patches, seem overrun with weeds or have bare patches that are difficult to keep green and lush. Overseeding can help eliminate these problem areas and create a more consistent, luxurious lawn.

 Spray broadleaf weeds with a selective herbicide and wait 2 weeks for the weeds to disappear. Several treatments may be necessary if the yard is thick with weeds.

  1. Take a soil sample of your lawn to determine the pH. A garden extension service can help determine pH levels, or home test kits are available.
  2. Mow shorter than normal and rake clean to remove unnecessary debris that may keep seeds from reaching the soil.
  3. Core aerate if you have compacted soil or heavy thatch. Remove the cores and dispose of them properly to keep the soil light and airy for seeding.
  4. Apply starter fertilizer and lime if determined to be needed by the pH test, or choose a grass type that will thrive in your soil’s conditions.
  5. Dethatch your lawn if thatch is thicker than ½ inch. This can be done with heavy raking or a special dethatching rake may be necessary in extreme cases.
  6. Overseed with the proper seed. If core aerating, lightly topdress with topsoil or humus.
  7. If needed, cover the freshly seeded area with netting or hay to discourage birds or other wildlife from consuming the seed before it grows.
  8. Water daily until grass has germinated, then soak once a week to encourage deep root growth.
  9. Fertilize in late fall with fall fertilizer.

Seeding A New Lawn

If you have no existing lawn or the entire ground is overrun with nothing but weeds, it may be best to start from scratch and create the lawn of your dreams.

  1. Kill existing vegetation with nonselective herbicide. If you want to preserve nearby trees or shrubs, take steps to protect that vegetation from the treatment.
  2. Take a soil sample of your lawn to determine the pH. A testing kit can provide a good pH estimate, or a gardening center or garden extension service can provide a more precise evaluation.
  3. Prepare soil by breaking up the surface with a rake or spade using a crisscross pattern. All large lumps should be broken up, and any large rocks should be removed.
  4. Broadcast starter fertilizer, lime and gypsum as determined by the pH test. This will provide a nutrition boost for fresh seeds.
  5. Spread topsoil or humus to a ½ inch depth for appropriate planting.
  6. Rototill to a depth of 4 inches and grade smooth. This will mix all the top layers together for uniform soil and nutrition, ensuring even turf growth.
  7. Sow proper seed and mulch lightly with salt hay to control erosion and conserve moisture.
  8. Water daily until grass has germinated, then soak once a week to encourage deeper root growth to resist droughts and repel weeds.
  9. Fertilize in late fall with fall fertilizer to provide nutrition throughout the season.

 Which Seed?

 Not every lawn will thrive with the same type of grass seed. Allow our staff to help you select the seed that best suits your needs, soil type and planting conditions. Apply at the recommended rate and incorporate into the top ¼” of soil. Do not bury the seed or it may not germinate evenly.

No matter what the condition of your lawn, fall is the best time to take steps to help it rejuvenate so you have an amazing lawn to enjoy in spring.

Bulbs: Go Formal or Natural In the Garden

Early spring crocuses, delicately scented hyacinths, nodding daffodils and vibrant tulips are favorite flower bulbs for coloring your garden from very early to late spring. But how should you plant them for a great impact and to match the theme of your garden or landscape?

Formal vs. Natural

Clumps of color in a formal planting of hardy spring flowering bulbs is, by far, the most spectacular way to display these beauties. Planting several dozen bulbs in a mass heightens the impact when using one variety and color. Coordinating colors or varieties can be arranged in planned beds for a uniform, luxury look.

The opposite approach is a naturalizing technique where you replicate the look of bulbs growing wild. These bulbs create colorful surprises throughout the yard, often popping up in unexpected places, but they are no less delightful.

Whichever overall design look you choose, planning the garden for a formal, massed look or for a natural appearance will yield spring flowers with minimum care.

Planning Your Bulbs

This fall, before you purchase hardy bulbs, look at areas in your garden that could benefit from color. Note when the bulbs will bloom, and whether they prefer sun or shade. Check the height of the bulb plants and their bloom times. Knowing the facts about the bulbs will help you plant them where they will perform and look best.

Formal Bulb Planting

Because flowering bulbs bloom early in the spring, their clumps of color in a massed planting can fill those gaps in the yard when trees and shrubs are still leaf-barren. By the time the bulbs have brightened these areas, the deciduous trees will begin to leaf. Growing on a bank or at the nearby base of a tree, daffodils in massed planting will give your garden a showy drift of color before summer’s flowers bloom.

Mix hardy spring bulbs with annuals, perennials and biennials for ongoing landscape beauty. Your only maintenance over the seasons is to prune, replant to replace old bulbs and divide occasionally where there is overcrowding. Keep in mind that the smaller the blooms, the greater the number of bulbs you will need to plant. A couple dozen tulips may be fine for a border, but several dozen small snowdrops might be needed in the same border.

When planting a border, place the bulb flowers with long leaves behind perennials. The leaves and flowers of the perennials will grow up and cover the spent yellow foliage of daffodils, tulips, alliums and crown-imperial fritillarias. In border planting, perennials such as phlox, periwinkle and candytuft can be a ground cover for May flowering tulips. Perennial plant leaves from plants like shade-loving hostas can be used as foreground foil in a border planting of tulips that prefer shade (`Triumph’). With a little planning, a border can be an easy care focal point by mixing flowering spring bulbs with other garden flowers.

Formal planting of hardy spring bulbs produces an impressive show of color. Hyacinths and tulips can be a dazzling display in a single-colored massed planting; purple hyacinths and scarlet tulips can be showstoppers too. Parrot tulips, frilled and bold in color, can be carefully paired with the generous blooms of bright cottage tulips. A winning combination is the duo of yellow daffodils or tulips with grape hyacinths.

Keep scale and color in mind when doing formal planting with spring bulbs. Planting similar colors and varieties rather than mixing them is the best approach, though careful experimenting can result in pleasing effects, too.

Planning Naturalized Bulb Landscaping

Naturalizing is a good method of planting hardy spring bulbs like crocus, grape hyacinths and daffodils where drainage is good and where the foliage will not be mowed. To achieve a natural growing look with bulbs, space them by taking a handful and tossing them gently. Simply plant them wherever they land for a ‘growing wild’ effect, avoiding any regular rows or predictable spacing.

Another look in naturalizing with small flowering bulbs is to plant them in a rock garden. Where the soil is unsuitable for larger bulbs, smaller bulbs are ideal. Hardy small bulbs of anemone blanda, snowdrop, kaufmanniana and tarda tulips, Siberian squill, crocus and Iris reticulata are perfect for massed planting in a rock garden.

Your preparations for a colorful spring begin in the fall. Imagine what joy you will realize when your spring garden comes alive with color from those drab brown bulbs.

The Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall is a great time to plant an autumn garden to extend the growing season. Many vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower are of a higher quality when grown in the fall, while others, like kale, develop better flavor after a frost. Spinach, chard, kale, collards, mustard, and rape all grow rapidly and flourish at the end of the season. Loose-leaf lettuces do well, too. It works best to plant greens in blocks or wide rows, because they’re easier to harvest and you have fewer weeds.

Fresh vegetables don’t have to end as the days grow shorter – fall is a great time to plant an autumn garden to extend the growing season. Many vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower are of a higher quality when grown in the fall, while others, like kale, develop better flavor after a frost. Spinach, chard, kale, collards, mustard and rapeseed all grow rapidly and flourish at the end of the season, ideal for autumn gardening. Loose-leaf lettuces do well, too.

To prepare your bed, immediately pull out whatever plants have finished producing. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches, rake the area lightly and work in a light application of composted manure or 5-10-5 fertilizer to provide adequate nutrition for rapid-growing fall veggies.

Broadcast a mixture of seeds like mustard, kale and rapeseed, or combine seeds of several types of lettuce like curly leaf, red leaf and oak leaf to allow you to harvest your salad already mixed. It works best to plant greens in blocks or wide rows, because they’re easier to harvest and you’ll have fewer weeds. If you plant blocks each time a new space opens up, you’ll have staggered plantings that can produce over a long time.

Some autumn vegetable varieties will tolerate cold better than others. Read seed packets before you purchase them to determine what will be best in your area, but don’t be put off by such notations as chard’s taking 60 days to mature. The greens are good when they’re younger, too.

Water seeds after sowing and keep the ground evenly moist until the seedlings are up and growing. Seedlings may also need to be sheltered from extreme heat. Protect them by shading them from the sun with Reemay fabric until they are established.

Although insects tend to be less bothersome in late fall, some vegetables in the cabbage family, including mustard, kale and collards, may attract cabbageworms. Apply Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) sprays for an organic method of control. As the plants begin to fill out, thin them enough to allow air to circulate and dry off moisture. This helps prevent insect problems too.

Harvest your fall vegetables as soon as the plants reach edible size. Even after the first frosts, you’ll be able to keep harvesting to enjoy the yield of your extended-season garden.

Top Fall Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Swiss Chard
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Lettuce, Head
  • Lettuce, Leaf
  • Mustard
  • Rape
  • Spinach

Bring Birds to Your Backyard

It’s amazing how many birds you can attract to your garden if you invite them with the right plants and shelter to meet their survival needs. But wild birds are more than just pretty feathered friends to attract – they bring beautiful songs and efficient pest control to your garden as well! This makes attracting birds a win-win situation for any gardener. But how can you fine tune your garden to be a backyard bird sanctuary?

Bring Birds with Berries

 Many birds eat a variety of berries, and often rely on juicy berries during fall migration and in winter when other foods may be scarce. Berry bushes can be fine ornamental plants, beautiful borders and even container favorites. Bring birds to the backyard by planting as many of these berry-producing shrubs as possible:

  • Barberry (Berberis)
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos)
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa)
  • Chokeberry (Aronica)
  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha)
  • Holly (Ilex)
  • Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia)
  • Privet (Ligustrum)
  • Rose (Rosa)
  • Crabapple (Malus)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum)

When you have these tasty treats in your yard, birds such as robins, thrushes, waxwings, thrashers and grouse will enjoy the berry bounty.

Seduce Birds with Seeds

Many birds positively adore seeds, and seeds are the perfect autumn food. Many flowers will even drop their seeds and naturally grow more plants for an even bigger seed harvest the next year. Seduce seed-loving birds by filling your garden with their favorites:

  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Globe Thistle (Echinops)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago)
  • Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)
  • Sunflower (Helianthus)
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis)

The top seed-seekers in your backyard will include sparrows, finches, quail and doves, and many other types of birds may also take a nibble at different seeds.

Finding a Spot for Your Feeders

While birds will enjoy the natural foods they find in your backyard, they will also readily take to feeders. When birds visit feeders, you can see them up close, take great photos and learn even more about what species are visiting. To better attract many different birds with feeders:

  • Use different feeders and scatter them throughout your garden. Different birds have different feeding preferences, so choose different feeder types and sizes to attract more bird species.
  • Place feeders in a protected area away from strong winds. Most birds will prefer a sunny location with better visibility as they watch for any threats. Be sure feeders are hung securely so they do not tip, swing or fall.
  • Birds have many predators, including your cat. Place your feeder within 5-10 feet of protective cover so birds can seek shelter if needed, and keep cats indoors or supervise them when outside so birds are not at risk.
  • Don’t forget to add a bird bath for drinking and bathing, as well as a bird house or two to tempt nesting birds to raise their families nearby.

With just a little work to plan your landscaping for birds as well as offering the best possible foods and feeders, you can easily attract new and exciting birds to your garden.

Clay in the Garden

Clay soil is problematic. It is sticky, heavy, wet and stinky, making it tough to work with. It is slow to drain after a storm, slow to warm in the spring and difficult for plant roots to penetrate.

When gardening in a site with clay soil you will need to decide whether to accept the soil as it is or try to change it. It is possible to change clay soil with a rigorous program of aeration, working in organic material and monitoring the pH, but even with this massive undertaking, over time, clay soil will revert back to its original state without ongoing maintenance and care. It is always best, and easiest, to select plants that thrive in the type of soil in which you are planting rather than changing your soil to suit the plant.

Plants for Clay Soil

No matter what type of landscaping you hope to do, there are trees, shrubs and flowers that can thrive even in dense clay. Consider these lists of clay-friendly plants when planning your landscape.


  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distchum)
  • Crabapple (Malus)
  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Hawthorns (Crataegus)
  • Hornbeams (Carpinus)
  • Pin Oak (Quercus paulstris)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana)
  • Spruce (Picea)
  • Linden (Tillia)
  • Upright English Oak (Quercus robur fastigiata)
  • Willow (Salix)


  • Aucuba (Aucuba japonica)
  • Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)
  • Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
  • Forsythia (Forsythia intermedia)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
  • Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Korean Boxwood (Buxus microphylla)
  • Lilac (Syringa)
  • Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Plume Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)
  • Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa)
  • Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria)
  • Twig Dogwoods (Cornus)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum)
  • Weigela (Weigela florida)
  • Willow (Salix)


  • Aster (Aster)
  • Bee Balm (Mondarda didyma)
  • Berginia (Berginia cordifolia)
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
  • Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scoriodes)
  • Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides)
  • Helen’s Flower (Helenium)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium)
  • Japanese Anemone (Anemone japonica)
  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
  • Ligularia (Ligularia)
  • Mayapple (Podophyllum)
  • Monkshood (Aconitum)


  • Checkered Lily (Fritillaria meleagris)
  • Small Camas (Camassia quamash)
  • Snowdrops (Galanthus)
  • Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
  • Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Despite the difficulty of working in clay soil, there are many beautiful plants that can thrive. Be sure to nurture the plants appropriately with the proscribed watering, fertilizing and other care, and your clay-based landscape can be just as lush and attractive as any other type of soil.

Fall Gardener’s Calendar


Spray Bonide All-Season Spray on hemlocks to control woolly adelgid.

Spruce up the landscape by planting Fall Pansies, Flowering Cabbage & Kale, Garden Mums, Fall-Blooming Perennials as well as Trees and Shrubs.

Test your lawn pH to determine if you need to apply lime this season. A 5o lb. bag of Lime will raise the pH about a half a point per 1000 square feet of turf.

Pick up your Spring Flowering Bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, snowdrops and more! An Auger for the drill will also help make planting easier.

Plant cool-season salad greens (arugula, corn salad, lettuce, radishes and spinach) in cold frames.

Apply Superphosphate now to coax stubborn plants into bloom next year.

Aerate, re-seed and apply Fall Lawn Food to the lawn. Keep grass seed damp; water every day if necessary. You will also want to check for grubs. Increased activities of skunks, raccoons and moles as well as brown patches that peel back easily are an indication of grub activity. Apply granular Sevin to control the grubs as well as chinch bugs and sod webworm.

Treat houseplants with Systemic Granules and Concern Insect Killing Soap now to get rid of any insects before bringing them into the house prior to the first frost.

Clean out garden ponds and pools. Cover with Pond Netting before the leaves start falling.


Plant bulbs. Fertilize with Espoma Bulb-Tone and water in well.

Divide daylilies and spring-blooming perennials, including iris and peonies. Don’t be tempted to prune your spring flowering shrubs like forsythia, azaleas, camellia, holly, lilac, rhododendron, spirea or viburnum or you will destroy next year’s buds.

Rake leaves from the lawn and lower the mower blade. Check your compost pile. Now is a good time to add Concern Bio Activator to help break down brown leaves and lawn clippings.

Dig up summer-flowering bulbs, such as dahlias, cannas, tuberous begonias, caladiums and gladiolus after the frost kills the top growth. Treat them with Bulb Dust, pack them in Peat Moss, and store them in a ventilated area for winter.

Fertilize your trees with Jobes Tree Spikes after the leaves fall. Fertilize azaleas, rhododendron, and evergreens with Holly-Tone and other shrubs with Plant-Tone. Spray hemlock again with Bonide All-Season Spray Oil.

Set up bird feeders. Clean out birdbaths, refill and purchase heaters for the winter.

Clean up and destroy diseased rose leaves and debris surrounding shrubs and perennials. Mound 10-12 inches of dirt around roses to protect from winter damage. After the ground freezes, cover roses with mulch or straw.

Remove annuals, roots and all, and add to your compost pile, but do not add any diseased material to it.

Cut back perennials unless they feature ornamental seed heads and Fertilize with 5-10-5. Prune long raspberry and rose canes back to a height of three feet. Clean up your beds and gardens to avoid harboring insects and diseases over the winter.

Pot hardy spring bulbs (anemone, crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, ranunculus and tulip) and place in a cold frame or cool garage (40 degrees) or sink into the ground and mulch. Keep evenly moist.

Update garden records, noting successes and failures, gaps in planting, future planting and landscape changes.

Water all landscape plants well and mulch before the winter cold sets in.

Spray evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron, boxwood and rose canes with Wilt Pruf for protection against wind and cold weather.

Audition Some Autumn Bloomers

Extend the beauty of your garden with vivid autumn-blooming perennials. When you think of fall-blooming plants, don’t stop at mums – there are many perennials that can add color to your yard at this time of year.

Top Autumn Bloomers

While there are different autumn-blooming perennials for different growing zones and climate conditions, some of the most popular and widespread options include…

  • Fall Daisies
    For fall daisies (besides daisy mums!) grow Boltonia or Nippon Daisy. Boltonia is a tall (3-4′) grower, suitable as a background plant. White or pink daisies are borne in profusion atop fine grey-green foliage. The Nippon Daisy (Chrysanthemum nipponicum) is covered with large crisp white daisies in October. Both love lots of sun and make excellent cut flowers.
  • Autumn Sedums
    Bold-foliaged sedums provide texture as well as color in a sunny place. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is the most well known. It has coppery-pink flower heads. Sedums ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Stardust’, with soft pink and white flowers respectively, are also attractive. For a totally different color combination plant sedum ‘Vera Jameson’. It has gray-purple foliage with rose pink blooms and looks stunning when planted with Blue Fescue, Artemesia Silver Mound and other silver-foliaged plants. As an added bonus, all the sedums are attractive to butterflies.
  • Autumn Asters
    Asters are another fall bloomer that butterflies love. These perennials like sun and moist, well-drained soil. There are many colorful aster varieties in shades of pink, purple, blue and white. Some favorites include tall-growing aster ‘Alma Potschke’ with bright pink flowers, blue-flowered aster ‘Professor Kippenburg’ and low-growing aster ‘Purple Dome’ with its deep purple blooms.
  • Autumn Goldenrod
    Sunny yellow goldenrod (Solidago) is another bright addition to the fall garden. Wrongly blamed as the cause of fall allergy problems, goldenrod has rightly taken its place in the fall garden. It looks particularly effective combined with blue flowering plumbago, purple asters and ornamental grasses.

Fall Bloomers for Shade Gardens

Even shade gardeners can enjoy late blooming perennials. Tall growing Japanese Anemones are a stately addition to the perennial garden. Bloom colors range from pure white to various shades of pink, and flowers can be single, semi-double or double blooms. Anemones grow well in light to moderate shade and spread quickly to form large clumps, filling in space vacated by spent summer plants. Turtlehead (Chelone) is another fast spreader for shade. Rose pink flowers cover the tops of the plant from early September to October. For a deeply shaded location, try Toad Lily (Tricyrtis), which has clusters of beautiful cream flowers, spotted with maroon along its upright stems. For light shade, plant Blue Cardinal Flower (Lobelia siphilitica), whose intense blue spikes can be admired from mid-August until frost.

No matter what type of garden you have, the end of summer does not need to mean the end of colorful blooms. Instead, just opt for amazing fall bloomers and enjoy brilliant color even longer!