Autumn is just a few days away, and it's time to start preparing your garden for fall. Learn how to do it here with our September Tips of the Month!
Fertilize Permanent Plants - Feed established trees, shrubs, ground covers and warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda. Feed acid-loving plants like camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons as well. Remember that most California natives and drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants have minimal to no fertilizer requirements, so be careful not to overfeed them! To save time and money and eliminate waste, use a slow-release granular fertilizer instead of a liquid. Liquid fertilizer gives instant results but leaves the root zone quickly (therefore requiring more frequent applications), while slow-release fertilizers break down slowly, delivering nutrients to the plant over an extended period of time.
Protect Against Brush Fires - Remove all dead leaves and limbs from trees and shrubs, especially those growing close to your home. Warm Santa Ana winds are notorious for whipping up brush fires, so be prepared.
De-Thatch Your Cool Season Lawn - Early fall is the best time to de-thatch your cool season lawns such as: Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass, fescues, and perennial ryegrasses. Warm season grasses need to be de-thatched in the early spring. Thatch is the natural build-up of decaying organic material such as cut grass blades, rhizomes and stolons. The organic material builds up on the surface of the soil, which makes it nearly impossible for the water and nutrients to penetrate. De-thatching a lawn is the process of cutting the lawn and bringing the dead organic material to the top (for removal) using a vertically slicing machine. De-thatching will greatly improve the health of your lawn.
Add Cool-Season Color - Pansies, cyclamen, stock, chrysanthemums, marigolds, lobelia and snapdragons can be planted about mid-month for beautiful fall blooms. It is also a great time to plant rudbeckia, Shasta daisies and lion's tail for fall color.
Bulbs - Nurseries have stocked up on spring flowering bulbs now. Choices include anemone, daffodil, reesia, hyacinth, iris, ranunculus, Sparaxis tulip and watsonia. With the exception of bulbs native to South Africa (like Freesias), t is best to wait until the soil cools (usually in October) before planting.