Think Spring with Bulbs
Start planting spring-flowering bulbs about midmonth. Continue planting until mid-November, and even longer if soil isn't frozen. Follow these tips for success.
- Try something new: Plant a river of grape hyacinths through a bed. Create large daffodil groupings, especially along fences or edges of a yard. Tuck Siberian squill into a section of lawn for naturalizing.
- Add bulb fertilizer to planting holes, not bonemeal.
- Protect bulbs from burrowing creatures by encasing them in poultry wire cages.
- Outwit hungry squirrels by soaking bulbs in repellent or planting through established groundcovers.
- Buy discounted bulbs for an economical way to stage large drifts of color. Cull bulbs carefully, tossing any that have soft spots. Tulips missing their outer covering are okay to plant, as long as bulbs are firm.
- Plant bulbs in pots for forcing into flower indoors. Plan 14-16 weeks of cold (41-48 degrees F), plus two to three weeks at room temperature before flowering. Plant bulbs now for January color. Try forcing hyacinth, crocus, tulip, and daffodil.
- Tuck early-blooming bulbs, such as crocus, Siberian squill, and miniature iris, into planting beds where they'll be visible from indoors. Other great spots are near entries and driveways.
Bulb planting tips.
Beautiful bulb combinations.
Deal with Autumn Leaves
Clean up fallen leaves -- don't ignore them. Allowing leaves to accumulate on grass can kill it. Piled on sidewalks, decks, and driveways, fallen leaves create slippery footing and can stain.
Move most tropical houseplants indoors for winter when temperatures stay below 50 degrees F. Plants such as fuchsia and holiday cactus can stay outdoors until nights remain in the 40s.
Fall Lawn Care
- Fertilize cool-season lawns. Aim to deliver 1/2-1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
- Fall is a great time to reseed problem areas in the lawn. You can also overseed to help thicken thin areas.
- Apply herbicides to control weeds. Choose broadleaf weed control for perennial weeds such as dandelions, clover, or plantain. Use a preemergent herbicide for fall-germinating weeds, such as henbit or chickweed.
- Core aerate cool-season grass. A core aerator actually pulls out a plug of soil and drops it on the lawn. The hole creates easy access for needed air, water, and fertilizer to connect with grass roots. If you plan to aerate and overseed, aerate first.
Weed identification guide.
Fall lawn-care secrets.