Fall Gardening Chores, Tips and Tricks


Fall does not seem as busy for gardeners, but there are still some basic maintenance chores to be done so that your garden can ‘sleep’ through the winter months, and wake up healthy and ready to go!

August Gardening Chores

Zone 1

Sow seeds of wildflowers and fall veggies

Aerate, dethatch and fertilize the lawn

As first frosts threaten, pick mature green tomatoes to ripen in a dark, cool place indoors

Purchase containerized trees and shrubs to plant now

Pick herbs to dry for winter soups, stews and baking

Begin to dig up summer bulbs to store indoors

Order spring bulbs to force indoors

Build up weather resistance of trees and shrubs with deep watering throughout the fall

Start moving tender plants indoors to acclimatize them or take cuttings

Spread newly made compost around trees, shrubs and perennials; winter weather will work it into the soil

Zone 2

Plant hardy Oriental and Asiatic lilies

Sow seeds of wildflowers, spring-blooming annuals and fall veggies

Aerate, dethatch and fertilize the lawn

Start moving tender plants indoors to acclimatize them or take cuttings

Pick herbs to dry for winter soups, stews and baking

As first frosts threaten, pick mature green tomatoes to ripen in a dark, cool place indoors

Purchase containerized trees and shrubs to plant now

Plan ahead for an extended harvest by building or buying a cold frame

Begin to dig up summer bulbs to store indoors

Order spring bulbs to force indoors

Zone 3

Sow seeds of wildflowers, spring-blooming annuals and fall veggies

Lift, divide and transplant perennials

Plant hardy Oriental and Asiatic lilies

Aerate, dethatch and fertilize the lawn

Start moving houseplants and other tender plants indoors to acclimatize

Pick herbs to dry for winter soups, stews and baking

Order trees and shrubs now for fall planting

Plan ahead for an extended harvest by building or buying a cold frame

Blanch tomatoes for freezing and canning by boiling them for just a few minutes and slipping off the skins

Order spring bulbs to force indoors

Zone 4

Lift, divide and transplant perennials

Order peonies for fall planting

Divide and transplant bearded iris

Order bulbs for fall planting

Start moving houseplants and other tender plants indoors to acclimatize

Enjoy a case of the late summer “blues” with a palette of aconitum, caryopteris, fall asters and reblooming iris in your planting schemes

Blanch tomatoes for freezing and canning by boiling them for just a few minutes and slipping off the skins

Order perennials and ornamental grasses for fall planting

Plant fall-blooming crocus and colchicum for late-season flowering

Prepare beds for planting bulbs and divide any existing bulbs that might be overcrowded

Build up weather resistance of trees and shrubs with deep watering now throughout the fall

Look forward to something different next spring: try alliums in your bulb garden

Zone 5

Sow seeds of fall vegetables

Order peonies for fall planting

Order bulbs for fall planting

Divide and transplant bearded iris

Order perennials and ornamental grasses for fall planting

Plan perennial beds for fall and winter color with ornamental grasses, fall-blooming bulbs and hardy heaths and heathers

Harvest vegetables continuously to stretch their season

Sprinkle compost starter to speed up composting for fall soil building

Prune summer-blooming shrubs (hydrangea, clethra, caryopteris) after flowers finish

Plant garlic now for spring harvests

Look forward to something different next spring: try alliums in your bulb garden

Enjoy a case of the late summer “blues” with a palette of hardy ageratum, caryopteris, fall asters and reblooming iris in your planting schemes
Zone 6

Sow seeds of fall veggies and annuals

Plan perennial beds for fall and winter color with ornamental grasses, fall-blooming bulbs and hardy heaths and heathers

Divide and transplant bearded iris

Harvest vegetables continuously to stretch their season

Sprinkle compost starter to speed up composting for fall soil building

Order bulbs for fall planting

Order perennials and ornamental grasses for fall planting

Prune summer-blooming shrubs (hydrangea, clethra, caryopteris) after flowers finish

Plant garlic now for spring harvests

Look forward to something different next spring: try alliums in your bulb garden

Sow seeds of cool-weather herbs (chives, parsley)

Enjoy a case of the late summer “blues” with a palette of hardy ageratum, caryopteris, fall asters and reblooming iris in your planting schemes

Zone 7

Harvest vegetables continuously to stretch their season

Sprinkle compost starter to speed up composting for fall soil building

Prune summer-blooming shrubs (hydrangea, clethra, caryopteris) after flowers finish

Plant garlic now for spring harvests

Dig gently to harvest potatoes a few plants at a time

Look forward to something different next spring: try alliums in your bulb garden

Sow seeds of cool-weather herbs (chives, parsley, garlic chives, cilantro and dill)

Order bulbs for fall planting

Order perennials and ornamental grasses for fall planting

Plan perennial beds for fall and winter color with ornamental grasses, fall-blooming bulbs and hardy heaths and heathers

Enjoy fall fragrance by planting autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata), flowering tobacco and annual stock

Keep cool during summer’s dog days with a shade garden embroidered with hostas and hardy ferns

Color up your bulb garden with fall bloomers (lycoris, fall crocus, colchicum)


Zone 8

Color up your bulb garden with fall bloomers (lycoris, fall crocus, colchicum)

Prepare rose beds for fall planting

Pick vegetables early in the day while they’re crisp

Plant out vegetable seedlings and sow seed for fall harvests

Leach out alkaline buildup in the soil with deep watering and applications of acid plant food

Dig gently to harvest potatoes, a few plants at a time

Sow seeds of cool-weather herbs (chives, parsley, garlic chives, cilantro and dill)

Order bulbs for fall planting

Enjoy fall fragrance by planting autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata), flowering tobacco and annual stock

Order perennials and ornamental grasses for fall planting

Order and refrigerate bulbs that require a winter chill (tulips, crocus, hyacinths)

Keep cool during summer’s dog days with a shade garden embroidered with hostas and hardy ferns
Zone 9

Sow seeds of cool-weather herbs (chives, parsley, garlic chives, cilantro and dill)

Prepare rose beds for fall planting of containerized roses

Order sweet pea seedlings now for winter bouquets

Order bulbs for fall planting

Pick vegetables early in the day while they’re crisp

Plant out vegetable seedlings and sow seed for fall harvests

Leach out alkaline buildup in the soil with deep watering and applications of acid plant food

Enjoy fall fragrance by planting autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata), flowering tobacco and annual stock

Order and refrigerate bulbs that require a winter chill (tulips, crocus, hyacinths)

Spray plants with the hose to knock off late-summer pests such as spider mite and whitefly

Stock up on seed for winter annuals and new perennials


Zone 10

Prepare rose beds for fall planting of containerized roses

Order sweet pea seedlings now for winter bouquets

Plant out vegetable seedlings and sow seed for fall harvests

Leach out alkaline buildup in the soil with deep watering and applications of acid plant food

Spray plants with the hose to knock off late-summer pests such as spider mite and whitefly

Stock up on seed for winter annuals and new perennials

Trim and fertilize hanging basket plants to give them a second lease on life

Order and refrigerate bulbs that require a winter chill (tulips, crocus, hyacinths)

Zone 11

Prepare rose beds for fall planting of containerized roses

Order sweet pea seedlings for winter bouquets

Plant out vegetable seedlings and sow seed for fall harvests

Purchase and refrigerate bulbs that require a winter chill (tulips, crocus, hyacinths)

Leach out alkaline buildup in the soil with deep watering and applications of acid plant food

Spray plants with the hose to knock off late-summer pests such as spider mite and whitefly

Sow seeds of cool-weather herbs (chives, parsley, garlic chives, cilantro and dill)

Prevent chlorosis in citrus trees with three feedings a year

Trim and fertilize hanging basket plants to give them a second lease on life

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2 thoughts on “Fall Gardening Chores, Tips and Tricks

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