September Top Tips


  • Except tulips, spring bulbs may be planted as soon as they are available. Tulips should be kept in a cool, dark place and planted in late October – December.



  • Begin readying houseplants for winter indoor. Prune back rampant growth and protruding roots. Check for pests and treat if necessary. Houseplants should be brought indoors at least one month before heat is normally turned on which would usually be the end of September or early October.
  • Poinsettias can be forced into bloom for Christmas. Move them into a room that will receive total darkness through the night and receive light only when there is natural light outside. This must continue until proper color is achieved in 6-10 weeks.



  • Perennials, especially spring bloomers, can be divided now. Enrich the soil with peat moss or compost such as Back-to-Nature before replanting.



  • If soil becomes dry, established lawns should be watered thoroughly to a depth of 4-6 inches.
  • Apply Fertilome Lawn Food + Iron to established lawns that do not need overseeding.
  • Lawn may be top dressed with compost or milorganite now. This is best done after aerating.
  • Aerate established lawns even if you are not overseeding, especially if thatch is heavy and/or soil is compacted.
  • Apply lime to lawns as needed. Have your soil pH tested every couple of years to determine if lime is needed. Hillermann’s tests for pH levels FREE of charge. Bring in 6 cups of dry soil for the probe test.
  • Begin fall seeding or sodding. Seed beds should be raked, dethatched or core-aerated, fertilized with a starter type fertilizer and seeded. Keep newly planted lawn areas moist but not wet.
  • Newly seeded lawns should not be cut until they are at least 2-3 inches tall.
  • Clay soils will benefit from applications of gypsum (40 lbs. Per 500 sq. ft.) which will help break up the clay and improve drainage.
  • Autumn is a good time to add manure, compost or leaf mold to garden soils for increasing organic matter content.



  • Check all along peach tree trunks to just below soil line for gummy masses caused by borers. Probe holes with thin wire to puncture borers.
  • Pick pears before they mature. Store in cool, dark basement to ripen.



  • Seasonal loss of inner needles on conifers is normal at this time. It may be especially noticeable on pines, especially white pine.
  • Monitor plants for spider mite activity. Reduce their numbers by hosing off with a forceful spray of water or you can spray with permethrin or Kelthane.



  • Harvest herbs now to freeze or dry for winter use.
  • In mid-September pinch off any young tomatoes that are too small to ripen. This will channel energy into ripening the remaining full size fruits.
  • Pinch off the top of brussel sprout plants to plump out the developing sprouts.
  • Tie leaves around cauliflower heads when they are about the size of a golf ball.
  • Keep broccoli picked regularly to encourage additional production of side shoots.
  • The last week of September, sow spinach to overwinter under mulch for spring harvest.
  • Bury or discard any spoiled fallen fruits.