We’re just a couple of days away from the official start of fall which has us looking forward to Autumn colors, decorating our front porches with pumpkins, cornstalks, and mums, and all of the fun fairs and activities that the new season has to offer.

With everything going on, it can be easy to forget about your garden, but good news! We have an updated, easy fall checklist you can reference throughout the season to make sure your yard is in its best shape before winter hits.

Be sure to stop by Van Wilgen’s for all the plants and supplies you need. We’re here to help!

FallChecklist web

stacey tips art 1Just because you can’t see it, does not mean it is not important. pH is probably the most significant soil factor in growing grass, flowers, and veggies. Do you know your soil pH? If you do, your yard will be very proud of you. If you do not, you need to come down to Van Wilgen’s Garden Center, get one of our many soil testing kits, head down to the Connecticut Agricultural Station in New Haven. They can test your Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and pH balance there.

What is pH? Why is it so important? Think of soil pH as a chemical balance in the soil. If it is out of whack, nothing grows as well as it should. In general, Connecticut soil leans toward the low end of the pH scale, making our soil acidic or “sour”. The more sour our soil is, the more your plants struggle. Who likes a sour-puss anyway?

Once you determine your soil pH, we can help. If you measure a 7.0, you are in luck because your soil is neutral and you need not do a thing! Below 7.0? Here is what you need to do…apply Lime! Fall is almost here and is one of the best times to apply lime. It has all winter to work its’ magic.

Van Wilgen’s offers Fast Acting Lime by Encap and Soil Doctor’s Pelletized Lime. Both are great

solutions but I prefer the slower-acting Lime by Soil Doctor for the Fall. It takes its sweet time,

breaking down under the snow, and is more available in the Spring.

Think of your lawn and garden as having a bad sweet tooth. It needs sweeter soil to thrive. If your soil is sour, raise it up with a Lime application. You will have a happier lawn next Spring and I know that will make you smile.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s Garden Center. We would love to help!

stacey tips art 1Lawns love fall. They feel so much better once the summer heat has passed but they still need your help. With a little TLC from you, fall will become your lawn’s favorite time of the year. Spring will become your favorite season because the fall work you do to your lawn now will pay off in spades next spring. Don’t forget how much your lawns do for you all spring and summer. They provide your family with oxygen, picnic areas, backyard ball fields, etc.

Let’s get cracking. Your lawn needs you, now. Here’s what we’re gonna do…

• FERTILIZE: Use Step 3(All Season Lawn Food) now to help the lawn recover from summer.

• FERTILIZE AGAIN: Yes folks, again! Save Step 4(Fall Lawn Food) for November. This is one of the most important fertilization steps of the year. Yes, siree!! After you have mowed your lawn for the very last time in the year, this is the time to put down your Fall Lawn Food.

• BEGIN TO MOW LAWN SHORTER: I know, I know, I am always telling you to keep your lawn as high as possible all season long. Well now, I am changing my tune. Begin to mow your lawn shorter, but no more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Bringing your lawn down to a good 2 inches going into the winter, allows more sunlight to get down to the crown of the plant and helps keep it disease-free.

• AERATE OR DETHATCH: Aerate if your lawn is compact & sparse. Dethatch if your lawn is really thick and has a dead, brown, thatch layer at the base of your green grass.

• TOP DRESS: Get a little compost and/or topsoil and rake into your existing lawn. A 50/50 combination would be perfect and help restore the organic matter in your soil.

• OVERSEED OR FILL IN BARE PATCHES: This is the perfect weather to seed, whether it is to fill in small bare patches or to thicken up an existing lawn, don’t miss this ideal fall weather to seed.

• WATER: Yes, even fall can be dry. If you seed, you need to water every day. Your existing lawn could use a drink too. Less frequent but deeper soakings that go down a few inches into the soil will really help to establish a deep root system.

• REMOVE LEAVES: Do not allow leaves to build up too thickly. They can smother out the grass and cause disease. Rake or mulch them with your mower.

• BROADLEAF WEED CONTROL: I highly recommend doing some broadleaf weed control if you are not seeding. It is important to kill off perennial weeds before they take a strong hold next spring. If you use a broadleaf, granular weed control, be sure to apply to a damp lawn and do not mow or water for a couple of days. I love Weed Beater Ultra. It is a liquid weed control that you can use to spot treat weeds and it will work even when temperatures dip into the 4o’s. This really extends the weed control season! Your lawn loves fall. Love your lawn in the fall and it will love you back even more in the spring. Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!