Most anglers can concur that September is among the best weeks for being outdoors. Around the United States, shifting seasons breathe life into gardens and anglers’ enthusiasm, and with this particular one the oppressive grip of summer’s warmth finally loosens.
It’s planting time again. Everything from cool-season edibles to broadleaf evergreens and indigenous grasses are planted this month. Consider beginning a wildflower garden from seed, and welcome winged visitors with berry-producing shrubs and by departing skeletal seed heads around winter.
The countdown to the first frost may have already begun, but there’s still so much left to enjoy. Here is what to do in your garden this September.
Locate your September garden checklist:
California | Central Plains | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast
Pacific Northwest | Rocky Mountains | Southeast | Southwest | Texas
Jocelyn H. Chilvers
Northwest. Once it comes to edibles, “broccoli, cabbage, spinach and Swiss chard are all drop favorites,” says landscape designer Karen Chapman. “Radishes and lettuce additionally will have plenty of time to develop and be harvested until the cold weather comes.”
She adds, “September is also the ideal time to plant onions and garlic. Cover these with bird figurines raised a couple of inches with blocks of wood or older nursery pots. Birds seem to love to peck at these tips! Once the roots have created, the netting can be taken off.”
Get her Northwest September checklist | More cool-season crops
California. “If you’re considering planting a lawn shortly (fall is the ideal time to start), think about some of those newish less-thirsty kinds, such as California native grasses,” writes garden editor Bill Marken.
“‘Native Mow Free’, shown here, is a mixture of several varieties of fescue grasses which take some shade as well as full sun,” he says. “It can be mowed for a regular turf look or left unmowed for a shaggy, lumpy appearance. It’s ideal to mow it at least a couple times annually. It works nicely on a incline. It’s not a good play lawn.
Most important when beginning a lawn? “Whether you start with seeds (cheaper, but more demanding of weed control) or sod (proper watering is not quite as simple as it seems), the primary and most arduous step is preparing the ground,” Marken says.
Get his California September checklist | More tips for your California garden
Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting
Southwest. “Give citrus trees their final application of fertilizer for the calendar year,” advises Arizona horticulturalist Noelle Johnson. “Citrus need to be fertilized three times each year: in late winter, early summer and late summer.”
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Jocelyn H. Chilvers
Rocky Mountains. “Broadleaf evergreens should be a priority for your fall planting program,” writes Colorado landscape designer Jocelyn Chilvers. “These plants attract much-needed colour and texture to the winter landscape but can suffer from our region’s low humidity, intense sunlight and drying winds.”
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J. Peterson Garden Design
Texas. “Start a wildflower garden. You’ll need until Thanksgiving to plant seeds, but the first part of September until early October is the ideal time,” writes landscape designer Jenny Peterson.
“Wildflowers like bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), Indian paintbrush (Castilleja), Indian costume (Gaillardia pulchella) and purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata) require full sun and well-drained dirt to flower best. You are able to buy seed mixes from your local nursery or botanical center, or call your county extension service when you have difficulty locating seeds or want more specific advice.”
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Central Plains. “Plants such as bee balm (Monarda spp) are inclined to look scraggly by late night, and deadheading doesn’t necessarily bring back new blooms,” writes Nebraska garden consultant Benjamin Vogt. “Consider leaving the unique seed heads that will be finely manicured by summer, making the garden a lot more pleasing to the coldest days.”
Get his Central Plains September checklist
Great Lakes. “September is the perfect time to plant perennials and woody plants,” writes Illinois garden coach Barbara Pintozzi. “It used to be that spring has been the ideal time to plant in Great Lakes gardens, but gardeners are discovering that with unreliable moisture and often excruciating summer heat, fresh plants fared better under the less-harsh states of fall. By planting in September, the gardener is guaranteed that the plants will have sufficient time to become established before winter.”
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Northeast. “About this time of year that I detect an increase in bird activity to my combined boundary, in which viburnum and redtwig dogwood offer a privacy screen from the street,” writes Vermont landscape consultant Charlotte Albers.
“Viburnum ‘Mohican’ is especially showy, with fruits moving from red to black and black leaves which turn red with the shortening days,” she notes.
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Mid-Atlantic. “Succulents additionally require a close eye this time of year. Some can overwinter outdoors, but tropical succulents will need to come indoors at the first hint of frost,” says garden writer Amy Renea. “These plants can endure a very light frost, but chilly temperatures can kill off the top growth. A wilted aloe vera is not a wonderful sight, so make them indoors if temperatures fall.”
Ger her Mid-Atlantic September checklist
Gardening with Confidence®
Southeast. “Hummingbird feeders aren’t necessary if you have enough plants to feed these visitors, but they’re a fantastic way to ensure you get a consistent food source for those hummers,” says North Carolina garden writer Helen Yoest. “You can place the feeder at a location which is easy to see out of your favourite seat, indoors or out.”
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More: Watch more regional gardening guides