The cooler temperatures of fall make this season ideal for working in garden and landscape. Fall is an excellent time for setting some types of plants and for preparing the lawn and garden for the coming spring.
Add fall color to your landscape with cool-season plants such as asters, pansies, kale, and chrysanthemums.
Autumn is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs. The roots can become established before the heat of the summer begins.
Plan ahead for spring color by planting hardy bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Such bulbs require a cold dormancy before starting new growth in the spring. The best time to plant hardy bulbs is at least six weeks before the ground freezes.
Plant garlic cloves six to eight weeks before the first hard frost. The garlic will overwinter and be ready to harvest in late summer.
Lift sensitive bulbs and tubers and store in a frost-free environment. For example, in Indiana, canna rhizomes should be lifted after the first hard frost and stored in peat or soil. Keep the soil barely moist and store in a temperature of around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilize your lawn. September and November are the two best times to fertilize a lawn in Indiana. Fall nitrogen promotes good root development, enhances storage of energy reserves, and extends color retention in cool-season lawns. Most of the benefits from late fall nitrogen will be seen next spring and summer.
Clean up your garden. Bag any diseased plant matter and compost or bury any healthy plant matter. Remove weeds before they have a chance to seed. Many perennials benefit from a fall trimming, but research how and when to trim each type of perennial for the best benefit from trimming.
Cover your garden. Mulched leaves make a good ground cover. You can also plant a winter cover crop on your vegetable garden. These crops should be cut in early spring before they seed.
Remove and store garden structures such as tomato stakes and cages and vegetable trellises. Wood structures left outside will decay, and metal structures may rust. Examine structures for damage, and repair them or re-purpose usable parts.
Take an inventory of gardening supplies so you know what to purchase in the spring. If you have storage room, look for discounts at garden centers and buy ahead for the next year.