Fall Gardening for Zone 6 in the Southern US
Clean up your yard and garden
Put your garden to bed for winter.
Like spring, autumn gardening chores are pretty demanding. If you live in the Southern US in Zone 6, the following checklist may help you get a leg up on what you need to do to make your fall tasks go quickly and a little bit easier.
- Begin fertilizing fescue lawns again.
- Winter broadleaf weeds like dandelions begin to emerge in late September, which is the best time to control. September through November is the time for fall pre- and post-emergent applications on warm season lawns.
- Raise mowing height for Bermuda grass to 1 1/5–2 1/2 inches for the remainder of the mowing season. Zoysia should be mowed at 3 inches and fescue at 2–2 1/2 inches.
- Broadleaf winter weeds like henbit and chickweed can be prevented with a pre-emergent herbicide in shrub beds and lawns.
- Overseed or establish cool season lawns like fescue.
- If winter color is wanted in a Bermuda lawn, late September is the time to overseed with annual rye.
- Now is the last chance to control grubs in the lawn.
- Plant cool season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons, and dusty miller when temperatures being to cool. Complete planting by the third week of October.
- Watch for and control any later infestations of fall webworms.
- Nutrient deficient trees and shrubs can be fertilized one last time before winter.
- Cool season lawns can continue to be replanted or established.
- This is another prime month for fertilizing fescue lawns.
- Continued control of broadleaf weeds can be accomplished during the month of October.
- Mow and neatly edge warm season lawns before killing frost.
- Planting spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, crocus, and daffodils.
- If the dividing and replanting of spring-blooming perennials was not done in September, it should be done now.
- Dig and store tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, and caladiums in a cool dry location.
- Many perennials can be planted at this time.
- Plant fall mums and asters; keep them watered during dry conditions.
- Take tropical water plants indoors when water temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Store pots if tropicals are not brought inside.
- Close the water garden for the winter by placing hardy plants in the deeper areas of the pool. Stop feeding fish.
- Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves during the winter months.
- Apply Vaporguard to evergreen trees and shrubs. Check label for mixing directions and shrubs that will not be damaged.
- Keep fescue lawns mowed to make leaf removal easier.
- Continue to mow fescue at 2 1/2 inches and water during dry conditions.
- Fertilize cool season grasses like fescue. Test soil to evaluate.
- Keep falling leaves off fescue to avoid damage to foliage.
- If trees and shrubs have not been fertilized this summer, apply fertilizer under the drip line and further out after the first killing frost.
- Spring-blooming bulbs can be successfully planted through November.
- Watch for arborvitae aphids; they tolerate cooler temperatures in evergreen shrubs.
- Clean and store gardening tools that will not be used until spring. Coat lightly with oil to prevent rusting. Drain fuel tanks.
- Prune bleeder trees like maples, elms, and birch in the early part of winter. Prune only for safety and structural purposes.
- Apply mulch around base of roses after mid-November to winterize. To avoid giving insects a place to overwinter, wait until after several early freezes to mulch.
- Wrap base of trees susceptible to rodent damage with aluminum foil or other protective coating.
- Thin-barked trees should be wrapped with commercial protective materials to prevent winter sunscald.
- Apply dormant oil for scale-infested trees and shrubs before temperatures fall below 40 degrees F. Follow label instructions.
- At leaf removal time, mowed lawns will be easier to clean up.
- Fertilize pansies.
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