Enjoy a Brighter Fall Garden in 5 September Steps Featured

Planting for a fall harvest

Big Idea

  • What should I do to my garden in the fall? Fall vegetable gardening. 
  • When should I start my fall garden cleanup? Autumn gardening tips. 
  • How do you enrich garden soil in Autumn? Preparing the garden for fall. 
  • What should I add to my garden soil in the fall?
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While the weather changes, you can still have a bright garden during the fall


August is the hottest month in the gardens. Vegetable and flower gardeners relish in the bounty the heat and monsoon rain offers. Others long for the calm, cool Autumn nights Arizona is so famous. September is a transition month with some critical garden needs at hand. Keeping up with fall maintenance assures both the health of your garden in spring and a shorter maintenance list later.

September starts a season of change with the most pleasant mountain weather. The hot summer days are behind us; spring wind has abated, with nothing but warm, bright days expected through November. Enjoy all the gardens have to offer. Albert Camus famously wrote, "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

Here are the Top 5 Autumn tasks you should complete in the garden.



1 Fall Planting

Fall is for planting significantly larger shade trees like maple and aspen. The same is true for larger spruce, pine, and ornamental grass. You will find a large selection of evergreen spruce, pine, and pampas grass best planted in Autumn. As days cool, kale, lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, and spinach proliferate. Sow seeds directly into the garden, cover, and keep moist to encourage sprouting. Beets, radish, broccoli, and cabbage can be sown from seed, as well. You will find cool-season vegetables and organic herb starter plants at Watters Garden Center through October.




2 Harvest and Clear Space

Harvest time is undoubtedly the most rewarding season for vegetable growers. While your lettuces and radishes may be passed, tomatoes and squashes are just getting started. Harvest is almost daily in Autumn for cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, and cabbages.

September can turn any landscape (edible or not) into a mess of falling, brown plants trying for one last round of blossoms. Remove brown spent leaves from your plant, including old flowers. The cooler temperatures often yield one last flush of fragrant growth. Go crazy, thin, and clean overgrown plants. Bare ground invites more weeds and pests to grow next spring. Cover bare patches in the garden with a 2-3" inch layer of Watters Premium Mulch, a cover crop, even fall plantings helps to keep the ground covered.




3 Preparing Mulch and Compost

If you haven't created one already, a DIY compost pile is a simple weekend effort yielding superior returns. Add organic materials like rotted vegetables, plant scraps, and leaves to create a mulch pile used later as compost gold. Compost is often ready by spring, ready to spread and invigorating next year's gardens.





4 Weeds & Dead-Head

Weeds are most prolific in September; don't let them go to seed. Weeds become well-established, aggressive, and seedy, making next spring's garden laborious. Stay on top of your weeds, especially in the fall, for less work next year. If a portion of your yard is incredibly weedy, apply a generous application of Watters "Weed & Grass Stopper."  This weed preventer keeps weed seeds from germination. The strongest over-the-counter weed kill would have to be "Decimate" but Fertilome. A better replacement to Roundup, this concentrated weed killer truly decimates mountain weeds faster and without cancer-causing side effects.



Deadheading flowers is pinching the dried, spent flowers off your plant, so it reblooms and looks its best. Fall garden mums, aster, roses, marigolds, and more look their best through Autumn. Pinch off old, spent flowers to allow healthy new growth and buds to form. This one Fall task forces ever-bearing plants to keep producing flowers. And if you have an unruly perennial, pinching its flowers prevents it from seeding and out-competing other plants in the garden.




5 Tree & Shrub Maintenance

Lots of growth happens in Autumn, especially at the root level. Yet another reason Fall is an ideal season to plant new fruit and shade trees and evergreen plants. Give plants a deep soak at a weekly interval. Heavily mulch around the new plant's roots for more roots and stronger growth next spring. Apply a 3" inch layer of composted mulch over the roots or your new Colorado Spruce, Blaze Maple of Fruit trees for impressive growth next year.




1 Most Important Autumn Task –

Feed everything in the yard before Halloween!  Fall plants are storing up food much like bears do in winter.  Encourage better Autumn growth and heartier hibernation by feeding everything in the yard with 7-4-4 All Purpose Plant Food.  This local plant food is especially important for stressed plants and those new to the gardens.


Until next week, I'll be helping locals plant better fall landscapes here at Watters Garden Center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at WattersGardenCenter.com or Top10Plants.com


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Upcoming Garden Classes

September 25 @ 9:30 am - Privacy Screens and the Secret Garden. Tired of looking at the neighbor's RV? This class shows off the best, fastest growing plants to fill in your privacy screens! You can screen unsightly neighbors, enhance your view, or block pesky traffic and cut noise and light pollution. Experts will be on hand to help individuals with unique situations.

October 2 @ 9:30 am - Fall ‘To-do‘ list for a Healthy Yard - Get the most out of your landscape with this easy to use checklist of fall care. Bring the color out of your fall gardens, reduce bugs next spring, or simply put your landscape to bed with these easy to use ideas.

October 9 @ 9:30 am - Autumn Colors Best Enjoyed at Home - Landscapes in autumn can be stunning, but only with proper planning. This easy care advice will bring the silver and blues out of the evergreens, showcasing brilliant bright foliage and crazy colored flowers. Make this the brightest fall of all!

October 16 @ 9:30 am – Fall Containers that Bloom like Crazy! After this class, you’ll have what it takes to design great container gardens that sparkle in the afternoon heat. Learn about proper watering, the best foods, companion plants, and more. Everyone is going to comment on your potting success! Bring your own container or buy one new and we'll have design stations open, with expert advice on hand.

October 23 @ 9:30 am – Succulents, Cacti and the Low Maintenance Garden are all the rage right now, and a great choice for busy gardeners! These are the toughest, drought-tolerant plant that will grow like gangbusters in a tight space with very little care. Students will learn how to use the local favorites that brings warm color and texture to your home.

October 30 @ 9:30 am – Showy Shrubs of Autumn - Shrubs are the backbone of a good design. They provide essential structure, beauty, fragrance and color with a great variety of shapes. Rock landscapes without shrubs tend to look strange, immature and lacking. Learn how to use shrubs to create simple but effective planting combinations for a design impact that will WOW all four seasons of the year. Free to gardeners that want more from their yard.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 05:09
Published in Prescott.news
Ken Lain

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site.


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