September is a great month for reseeding and fertilizing lawns.

September is a great month for reseeding and fertilizing lawns. Credit: iStock

The harvest is slowing and the annuals are fading, but we gardeners can't rest quite yet (when do we ever?).  .It's time to prepare for the change in seasons: relocate shrubs and perennials so their roots have time to settle in before frost; give trees extra TLC to help it make it through winter; weed so fewer pests sprout in spring; and gather up the last of the fruit, vegetable and herbs. And that's just a start — it’s also time to plant! To keep you on track, here are 30 chores, one for each day of the month.

1. Now is the best time to rejuvenate or reseed the lawn.

2. It’s Labor Day — fertilize established lawns (not new ones) one last time for the year. Use a slow-release product for best results.

3. Divide and transplant overgrown peonies.

4. Sow lettuce, arugula, mustard green, collard, kale, spinach and Asian green seeds directly into the garden for a fall harvest.

5. Plant (unpeeled) garlic cloves, pointy ends up, 2 inches deep and 3 to 6 inches apart in full sun. They’ll come up in spring.

6. Don’t let weeds go to seed! Pull them now — by their roots — and dispose in the trash.

7. Take 2- to 6-inch cuttings of coleus and begonias (just below a node), place indoors in a glass of water (change daily) until roots sprout, then plant in soil in a pot and grow by a window until spring.

8. Pick late-summer blooms from the cutting garden for a thoughtful Grandparents' Day token.

9. Inspect evergreens (especially dwarf Alberta spruce) for spider mites. If found, blast them with hose water and repeat every week this month. 

10. Remove faded annuals and perennials. Not only does a tidy garden look better, it discourages pests and diseases from settling in. 

11. Continue to water trees and shrubs, especially newly planted ones, until hard frost.

12. Place final orders for spring bulbs for planting next month.

13. Harvest grapes!

14. Bring in tender pond plants and keep them moist near a sunny window until spring.

15. Divide and transplant spring bloomers, like lily of the valley, perennial phlox and Dutch iris.

16. Don’t prune spring-flowering shrubs now or you’ll remove buds — and they will be flowerless next year.

17. If tomato plants are still producing flowers, remove them so the plant can divert energy to ripening fruit before frost.

18. If the innermost needles of evergreens are turning brown and dropping, relax. It’s normal for this time of year.

 19. Cut down basil and parsley, remove leaves, rinse and dry in a single layer on paper towels overnight, then freeze in zippered bags.

20. Plant perennials now to allow time for them to become established before frost hits.

21. Plant witch hazel, red-twig dogwood, deciduous holly and beautyberry now, and you’ll have something nice to look at over winter.

22. Move vacationing houseplants into shade for a few days, then rinse off insects and bring indoors until next summer.

23. It’s the first day of autumn. Make a summer soup with the last of the garden’s produce. Don’t forget the herbs!

24. Test soil and add lime, if necessary. It will work to raise pH by spring.

25. Keep watering trees and shrubs, especially young ones, until hard frost. And evergreens should continue to get drinks during winter dry spells.

26. Pot up small rosemary plants and keep indoors near a sunny window for offseason supply.

27. Dig up gladiolus, elephant ears and cannas. Learn how to overwinter them at

28. Divide day lilies and transplant into garden gaps.

29. Shanah Tovah! Enjoy homegrown apple slices dipped in local honey for a special Rosh Hashanah treat.

30. When their tops flop over, dig up onions, cure in the sun three to five days, then store indoors in a cool, dry spot.

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