September Lawn & Garden Checklist

Fall aeration Fruits and vegetables Add material to your compost pile.

September marks the changing of the seasons from summer to fall. September brings with it the final days of the productive summer harvest, the planting of fall crops, and the livening up of any dormant lawns. Here's what to do in the lawn and garden to make the transition from summer to fall a productive one:

Lawn Care

  • September is an ideal month for aerating and overseeding a lawn, especially a lawn consisting of cool-season grasses.
  • Train your lawn to grow deep roots by mowing high and watering deeply but infrequently.
  • Mow your lawn only when needed and use a sharp blade.
  • Try to avoid compacting the soil in high traffic areas. This can damage turfgrass and lead to weeds.
  • Hand-weed when possible. If there is an area of your lawn with excess weeds, wait until cooler weather returns before applying weed controls. Weed controls applied during a hot week may put your lawn under unnecessary stress.
  • Apply an organic-based fall fertilizer to the lawn towards the end of the month, this application will help the lawn restore nutrients and “green-up” after summer.

Indoor Plant Care

  • Bring houseplants indoors one month before indoor heating is expected to begin in your area.
  • Wipe the dust off the leaves of your indoor houseplants. This helps the plant breathe and increases its ability to filter the air in your home.
  • Continue to water indoor plants. If you live in a dry climate, consider giving indoor plants an occasional misting to increase humidity.
  • Regularly rotate houseplants to ensure even, symmetrical growth on all sides of the plant.
  • If you haven't repotted your indoor plants in a while, divide the plants, if possible, and repot them in a sterile potting soil.

Tree & Shrub Maintenance

  • Plant new trees and shrubs in the fall by digging a hole twice the size of the root ball, watering the hole with Protilizer, and then backfilling the hole with gardening soil.
  • Prune weak, rotting, or dead branches.

Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

  • Harvest remaining fruits and vegetables and can or freeze excess.
  • Dig up onions and cure or dry them out.
  • Give vegetable gardens an inch of water every week. When possible, water in the early morning and avoid getting the leaves wet.
  • Consider saving seeds from open-pollinated vegetable plants to use next spring.
  • Check cold frames to ensure they're ready for the first frost of the year. Cold frames increase in price closer to the peak season, so it's best to repair or replace them now.
  • Clean up fallen fruit and add to the compost pile.
  • Plant garlic near the end of September for a harvest next spring.

Flower & Bulb Preparation

  • Keep container gardens and hanging baskets looking beautiful by watering them at least once a day. Remove spent blooms as needed.
  • Feed hanging baskets and container gardens every two weeks.
  • Order spring bulbs now to get the best selection.
  • Plant lilies, irises, hostas, and perennials.
  • If annuals are getting “leggy” cut them back for fall growth.
  • Sow perennial wildflower seeds 6-8 weeks before the first hard frost, and they will reward you with a beautiful spring showing.

Maintenance & Other Items

  • Take photos and make notes for next year. It'll make the garden planning process a lot easier.
  • Save on water bills by installing a rain barrel or investing in a similar way to collect rainwater.
  • Birds will begin to store up reserves for winter, so clean and fill bird feeders this month.
  • Keep hummingbird feeders up through September for migrating birds.
  • Weed walkways and the edges of the driveway when the weather starts to cool off.
  • Don't forget to add to the compost pile! This time of year there will be lots of spent garden waste and leaves but don't forget to throw in one or two harvests of grass clippings to the pile so there is adequate green material.
  • Ideal temperatures for a compost pile hover around 160°F (71°C). In the hottest months of the summer, a pile could reach temperatures of up to 200°F if not properly maintained. This can kill beneficial microbes and possibly cause a compost fire. To avoid this, turn your pile regularly and ensure it stays properly moist.

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Clippings from our customers

Winter is closing in fast in New Hampshire. That's ok with me, as I can't wait to go ice fishing. Hard to stay ahead of all the oak leaves coming down. The lawn looks great after the lime and the September and October applications. Can't wait to see how it looks next year. Check Out His Video

Bill J. – Bedford, NH

Best fertilizer I have used.

J Burnett – Lowell, MA

Lawn looks amazing

L.R. – Ashburnham, MA

We used this ice melt all winter on some difficult steps and a walk way that always ices up. I would give this product a ten star if I could.

Wayne G – Manchester, NH

I live where the soil is already high in phosphorus (the middle number) and it’s hard to find any with none locally. I buy one of these (Fall Fertilizer Application 4) each season and they are well worth the cost. My neighbors all say my yard is looking much better than under the prior homeowner.

Stacie W. – Fort Worth, TX

…The only thing better than your products are the people behind them. You [all] are the best!!

Steve D. – Merrimack, NH

We will continue to use [Protilizer & 5-5-5] with great enthusiasm. We swept the Court of Honor in every rose show where we exhibited, including the National Rose Show.

John & Cherylynn Smith, National Rose Association First Place Winner – Westminster, MD

We grow 200 varieties of hot peppers and 150 heirloom tomatoes. We used Protilizer and saw no phytophthora root disease; our crop yields were higher; we had better root development; and the plants just looked healthier than they have in years. The fact that Protilizer is organic and OMRI listed is a bonus. Thank you for your help and support throughout my trials.

James Weaver, Meadow View Farms – Kutztown, PA

I will continue to be a loyal supporter of Natural Alternative products. Your bacteria based products are unmatched in the industry.

Darryl Schultz, Bud Shultz Garden Center – Dunmore, PA

I am a vegetable and annual grower. I recently started using your Protilizer Seed & Plant Starter on my annual nursery stock. The results exceeded my expectations. My Impatiens, Petunias, Marigolds were healthy and disease free. The root development was the best I have ever seen. This year I am also trying it in my strawberry fields.

John Stoltzfus, Brandywine Produce – Honey Brook, PA

We are pleased with the results we’re getting with Protilizer on our pansy crop. We did not have any stem disease for the first time in years. Please send me another 6 jugs. We need it for our poinsettias.

Kenneth Miller, Milmont Greenhouses – Waynesboro, VA

As a grower/retailer we use Natural Alternative Protilizer and 5-5-5 plant food in our growing operations to maintain top quality plants in our retail stores. We have reduced our use of fungicides for root diseases to almost zero. During the hot summer months, our customers remark that our plants look so healthy for the middle of summer.

Jim Glick, Ken’s Gardens – Lancaster County, PA

Thank you all for your help and recommendations. I appreciate the time you spent on the phone with me to work toward a solution for my lawn. You have been a tremendous help. What terrific customer service!

J. Jackson – Columbus, Ohio

Again, I want to thank you for the awesome service you have given us this season. I very much appreciate it.

Lee Roeder, Strosniders – Bethesda, MD

The ice melt worked great! We already put some down for the storm that missed us last week, and yesterday morning when I checked the area it was covered with sleet with the exception of the areas we treated with the ice melt. [Thanks for] your quality service and the great product you provide.

Andrew C. Lee, Capitol Hill Business Improvement District – Washington, DC

We love the [Natural Alternative Ice Melt] product and have for years. We will keep pushing it!

Craig S. Co-Owner – Twins Ace Hardware, Fairfax, VA 22030

I just wanted to thank you for the great products that Natural Alternatives produces. I did cut my lawn last Saturday and got all the leaves up and early Sunday morning applied the last Winter Fertilizer. I have been so pleased with your products for the lawn and for my flower beds and tomato plants. My lawn looks like green velvet. I have two dogs and am very careful as to what products I apply to my lawn and gardens. Thank you also for the "computer reminders" that you send out. They are very helpful.

Peggy S. – Laconia, NH

Thank you and your staff SO MUCH for getting us an order of ice melt today. You've made not only our customers, but staff (who is always eager to please), very happy! It's that kind of service and attention that will have us coming back to you!

Robbie Kaplan, Ace Hardware – Washington, DC

The best stuff! I use it all the time. I used it on 15 wint o'green arborvitaes, recommended by Paul Parent. They all are thriving and huge; 4 feet to 15 feet in three years.

Tammy Schwab

We [used your] ice melt today and it worked much better than what we were using before.

Thomas Beaver, General Growth Properties – Columbia, MD