A bit of planning, a little extra dirty work done now, and the outer
natural areas of the homestead can still look good and even pay
dividends in the spring.
Here are some tips for getting through
the seasonal transitions. These suggestions are provided by local
lawn enthusiasts and horticultural expert Candice Miller from the
University of Illinois Gardener's Corner.
From summer to fall
While the drought this year was less severe than that of 2012,
the ending days of the season proved to be hot and dry for those
living in the Midwest. As a result, the familiar sight of brown
lawns has returned. Without the aid of additional watering, at best
the lawn may be a mixture of brown and light green as stems of grass
cling to life.
The end of summer and the beginning of fall is a good time to
repair some of the damage done to these lawns. Now is the time to
clean up any remaining plant material from the garden and consider
using it to begin a compost pile. This transition is also a good
time to add manure or other similar material to improve the soil.
Clean up any leftover weeds, as they can harbor pests or various
To prepare for a potentially healthier lawn in the future, this
transition period is also a good time for a fresh application of
soil. One suggestion is to top-dress the lawn with a high-quality
black dirt or compost before planting any new grass seed or sod.
While planting of new seed is typically completed before September,
there is still an opportunity to plant. Watering should still be
done before the transition to fall is complete.
This is also the time to plant spring flowering bulbs, such as
daffodils or tulips.
On the topic of flowers, this is also a good time to divide and
plant perennials, as well as remove those that are not growing to
the same quality as before. Be sure to plant new perennials early in
the fall to take advantage of the relatively warm soil. Adding mulch
will help to ensure plant growth.
In addition, consider fall annuals, such as chrysanthemums, for a
late-year improvement to your garden.
Mid-July through about mid-September is a good time to plant
certain crops like broccoli, lettuce, turnips, carrots, radishes or
spinach. The season for growing these crops can be extended by using
floating row covers or cold frames.
In addition, late summer to early fall is a great time for tree
planting. Just remember to plant trees and shrubs to the appropriate
depth and provide additional watering after planting. New plants
should also be topped with mulch to conserve water and insulate the
While autumn sets in for the year, it is appropriate to begin
maintaining lawn-care equipment. Be sure to check your mower's
blades for signs of dulling or a need for replacement. Before the
mower is put away for the year, it's a good idea to empty it of
fluids, with the thought in mind to get fresh oil and gas when
Before the mower is put away, try chopping up leaves into a fine
consistency for extra mulch to apply to new plants. Apply mulch
after the first frost of the year.