September/October Garden Guide


By Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate in Lancaster County

Select accent plants for your landscape that will provide autumn colors. Trees that have red fall color are red maple, sugar maple, Norway maple, red oak and scarlet oak. Shrubs with red fall foliage include sumac, viburnum, winged euonymus and barberry.

Before the first frost, dig up caladiums. Allow them to dry and store them in a dry place for the winter.

Be sure to keep strawberry beds weed free. Every weed you pull now will help make weeding much easier next spring.

Rake up leaves, twigs and fruit from crabapple trees and dispose of them in the trash to help control apple scab disease.

Water newly planted trees and shrubs to provide sufficient moisture and prevent winter damage. Add a two-inch layer of an organic mulch, such as shredded bark, around the base of plants to retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Save seeds from favorite flowers such as marigolds by allowing the flower heads to mature. Lay seeds on newspaper and turn them often to dry. Store the dry seeds in glass jars or envelopes in a cool, dry, dark place.

Hot peppers will keep best if stored after they are dry. Thread the peppers on a string and hang in a cool, dry place.

Fall is a good time for improving your garden soil. Add manure, compost and leaves to increase the organic matter content.

If volunteer tree seedlings, such as elm, mulberry, hackberry or maple are found growing in your yard, remove them as soon as possible. If left too long, they will take over gardens and other landscape plantings.

Do not wait for frost warnings to move your plants indoors. Temperatures of 45° F or lower can damage many tropical house plants.