Not only is Autumn one of the most beautiful seasons, it is also the ideal time to prepare your garden for the colder months ahead. It is important to clean up debris and replenish lost nutrients to your plants, and preparation for next year can begin now. Follow these great tips to get your garden in tip-top shape this Fall season!

Soil Test. Take soil test from your gardens beds and yard. Fall is a great time to correct ph problems and add any additional fertilizer that is needed.

Prepare for next year. Fall is the best time to prepare new gardens and renovate old ones. Add new
garden soil and incorporate plenty of organic matter to your planting beds so they will be ready for next spring planting.

Make notes for next year. While it is still fresh in your mind make notes of what did well and what you
might want to do different next year. You may also want to map out your gardens so you know where
things are. All the great ideas you have for next year could be forgotten by next spring, so write them down!

Divide overgrown perennial. Many perennials need divided every few years to rejuvenate them.
September is a good time to divide and to move perennials. Keep them well watered so they can
establish themselves before winter.

Cut back perennials. After a freeze ends the growing season, debris from perennials and annuals can be
removed. This will remove hiding places for insects and disease. Some perennial such as coneflowers
can be left to feed birds and for winter interest.

Fertilize perennials and shrubs. When the weather has cooled enough to prevent any new above
ground growth (around the first of October) perennials and shrubs should be fertilized with a good, organic fertilizer.

Plant grass seed. Fall is the best time of the year to plant grass seed. The warm soil and cool air are ideal for establishing new grass. If you are going to renovate your lawn and you have to eliminate weeds, get going. You need at least two weeks to make sure that you have most of the weeds eliminated in your yard, before you start to plant your seed. The best time to plant your new seed to have it established this fall, is the middle to end of September.

Lime applications. Although liming can be done at any time of the year, it is traditionally done in the fall to allow the freeze/thaw cycles of the winter to physically incorporate the lime into the soil.  Aerating at the time of a lime application serves the same purpose. A pelletized lime with high neutralizing value, while more costly, allows the product to be applied more evenly with no mess.