Dig it!

Garden Goods: Taking Care of Perennials in the Fall

While it certainly felt like Fall last week, it looks like we are getting one more week of summer to enjoy this week. Keep in mind, cool temps are ahead and it is time to start thinking about fall garden care.


August – September:

  • Now is the best time to transplant/divide Peonies, Bearded Iris, Oriental Poppies, & Oriental/Asiatic Lilies.
  • STOP deadheading and fertilizing your roses.
  • Plant fall mums and asters early and use root stimulator for your best chance at over wintering them!
  • Dig up summer bulbs after the first few frosts and store for the winter. (ex. Cannas,Gladiolas, Dahlias)
  • Take pictures and notes.
    • Which perennials developed disease? Consider preventative disease control in spring.
    • Which perennials need to be moved? Got too much sun or not enough?
    • Which perennials need to be divided?


  • Plant Bulbs- the cure for spring fever! Plant them around plants that emerge late bulbs_logoin spring such as ornamental grasses, Balloon Flower, Perennial Hibiscus, Butterfly Bushes, etc.
  • Remove and dispose of diseased or insect infested foliage (do not compost).
  • Pull weeds to prevent them from getting a head start in spring.
  • Create new flowerbeds so that you can start planting first thing in spring.
  • Collect and save seeds to plant next year.


  • Cut back perennial foliage.
  • Apply a thick layer of mulch, especially to plants that tend to heave in the winter, such mulch2as Fountain Grasses, Dianthus, any recently planted perennials. (August 1st or later)
    Put a brick or boulder on top of plants that tend to heave.
    • What NOT to cut back in the fall: Butterfly Bush, Caryopteris,Chrysanthemums, Coral Bells, Clematis, Balloon Flower, Dianthus, Foam Flower, Bergenia, Silvermound, Lavender, Russian Sage, Turtlehead,Ornamental Grasses, anything with ornamental plumes or seed pods.
  • Prepare hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora, climbing roses for winter.
    Clean, oil, and sharpen garden tools before putting them away for the winter.
    • Remove all foliage, tie canes together, mound of soil, chicken wire or rose collar, mulch.
  • If you noticed holes on the leaves of your hostas, slugs might be the culprit. Slugs feed on and live in decaying plant material so remove brown leaves from your garden. Rake over the area around your hostas to expose and kill overwintering slugs and slug eggs.
A Quick Note on Trees & Shrubs
  • Wrap the trunks of newly planted smooth bark trees with tree wrap to prevent frostcrack.
  • Spray broadleaf evergreens with Wilt-Pruf to prevent winter burn.
  • Fall is a great time to fertilize trees and to use a bark protector to prevent deer "rubbing". 
Download our free Fall Gardening Checklist below!
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