Fall Gardening Tips

Here’s a round-up of what I recommend for gardeners in climate Zone 14 for the fall (includes all of Lamorinda area and parts of Walnut Creek and Concord).

  • Plant: Warm climate bulbs, cool season annuals, shrubs and trees.
  • Sow cool season vegetables (peas, radishes, bok choy, and spinach among others).
  • Harvest your green tomatoes (they ripen nicely in a brown paper bag).
  • Bring back inside your “vacationing” houseplants.
  • Save water by lessening the run days of your automated irrigation system and operate your clock manually if you don’t have an ET (evapotranspiration) system. If we have unseasonably warm weather, use a soil moisture meter (which can be purchased for around $10 at most home improvement stores).
  • Insulate all pipes, hose bibs and valves that are exposed to outdoor temperatures.
  • Aerate, thatch and fertilize lawns. Fertilize your lawn now, and once again in early spring. This will significantly strengthen the roots of your grass.
  • Apply mulch to winter garden beds. Use heat treated or commercial material (tree clippings tend to bring in disease and pests). Doing this now helps prevent weed growth in spring.
  • Tidy around fruit trees (leaves, twigs, fallen fruit, and dried fruit still on the branches). All of this makes for a wonderful start to your compost pile (be sure not to add diseased leaf litter).
  • Schedule to have your trees and shrubs pruned during the dormant season in late December or January.
  • Clean your bird feeders.
  • In December and January, if the lawn needs to be mowed, mow it on a dry day. Then you shouldn’t have to mow until the grass starts growing next spring. Running a lawnmower over the lawn after it has rained will cause ruts in the lawn from the wheels of the lawnmower.

About Thomas

Thomas Raeth, the owner of Lafayette Tree & Landscape based in Lafayette, Calif., is a licensed landscape contractor, certified arborist and certified pesticide controller. His company has been designing and installing inspirational gardens, ponds, walkways and patios as well as many other decorative landscape features for its clients for decades. Lafayette Tree & Landscape serves Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Danville, Alamo, Pleasant Hill, Martinez and many other Contra Costa County communities as well as the Oakland hills.
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