Long Island Horticultural Society

What's Going on in the Garden

September To Do List

Fall is Planting Time!

 Why you ask? Good Question!


It is cooler which is great for the gardener and the soil still holds summer's heat which is much better for root growth. In fall plants also shift gears from putting out leaves and flowers to putting out roots. Trees, shrubs and perennials put into the ground in fall and don't have to deal with the stresses of heat and drought and can relax and get adjusted to their new environment. By next spring those plants will be much better equipped to handle the stresses of summer.


Also fall planting can save you money! Nurseries put plants on sale in fall. The savvy gardener knows this and the best time to go plant shopping is in autumn. Plants are on sale for 50 -75% off in some cases. Just remember plants aren’t going to look their best but, it’s all about the roots on the bottom. So turn that pot over and check out those lovely roots.

 Why plant in fall? It’s better for you, the plants and your wallet!


Fall planting tips

 Aim to plant perennials 4 to 6 weeks before first frost date on Long Island that is middle to the end of November depending on location. If you need to plant closer to the frost date plant those deeper than you would normally to help anchor them against frost heaves in winter.


Concentrate on spring and summer bloom perennials as these will establish better and reward you with great bloom next year. If you plant fall bloomers now, trim off the flowers to get the plant to put its energy into making new roots rather than blooming or making seeds.


If your dividing and replanting, work with spring and summer bloomers. Perennials are best divided in the season opposite from that which they bloom.


Don't use nitrogen fertilizer when transplanting in fall, you don't want to encourage top growth, you want the plant to put all its energy into establishing new roots and getting anchored into the ground. Fertilizers high in potassium or transplanting solutions are much better for this. Remember to keep up with the watering if fall rains are scarce.

Bulbs: Plant spring-blooming bulbs and fertilize existing bulb plantings. Add sharp grit to bulb holes to keep voles away. Bury pots of bulbs; in spring you can dig them up and rearrange them as they bloom

Veggies: Sow seeds for Kale, Collards, lettuces, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, chinese cabbage, swiss chard, scallions, turnips. Kale and Collards get sweeter the cooler is gets and benefit from frost.

Notes: Make a notes of what did work well and didn’t work well in your garden this year and why.