California Gardener's September Checklist
It’s pretty safe to state that fall, more than any other season, is what distinguishes California gardening from anywhere else. Notice I’m not talking about the weather. In much of the U.S. and round the Earth, September and early fall often provide the year’s finest weather. What I’m talking about are California’s identifying planting opportunities. From Labor Day through Thanksgiving, and even later, it is possible to do this much — by planting a few pots of flowers on your own deck to laying the foundation of your whole landscape. Listed below are reminders — a fall planting primer — of everything that it is possible to get done starting at this time.
More regional backyard guides
The New York Botanical Garden
Plant now for blossoms fall through spring. It’s one of mild California’s privileges: Should you get them at the ground early enough, many of annual flowers can start blooming as early as Thanksgiving and will continue through winter in early spring. These include Iceland poppies (shown) and other cool-season annuals, such as calendulas, pansies, snapdragons, inventory and violas.
The target date for setting out cool-season annuals in most California climates is September 20; hold off for a few more weeks in warm inland climates. And postpone planting in case a sexy spell is arriving on.
Many cool-season annuals need full sun. Ensure that you opt for a spot that will remain shining since the sun’s angle changes throughout the winter. Supply temporary shade during extra-hot weather in early fall.
Save water with a fresh lawn. If you’re considering planting a lawn soon (fall is the ideal time to start), consider some of those newish less-thirsty types, including California native grasses.
‘Native Mow Free’, shown here, is a mix of several types of fescue grasses that require some colour in addition to full sun. It may be mowed to get a regular turf appearance or left unmowed for a shaggy, lumpy appearance. It’s ideal to mow it at least two or three times a year. It works nicely on a slope. It’s not a fantastic play lawn.
If you start with seeds (cheaper, but harder of weed control) or sod (proper watering is not quite as straightforward as it seems ), the primary and most arduous step would be preparing the ground.
Schedule some of that big-deal planting. Fall is also a excellent time to tackle major landscaping — putting in trees, ground covers, trees and vines — virtually everything except frost-tender types.
As you’re planning, why don’t you look to get fall-color trees now beginning to perform? Consider how you use and see your backyard. Would you want fall foliage early or late? With the right selection, you’ll have plants in colour, even in mild California, from October to Christmas.
Pistache and liquidambar trees generally turn color on the first side. Japanese maples turn early or midseason, based on the variety and how much sun and moisture they receive. Persimmon tends to be late.
Ginkgo, shown, also known as maidenhair tree, colors up so late that you may be from this fall mood and considering the holiday season, but it’s an outstanding all-purpose shrub. Green leaves shaped like those of maidenhair fern turn buttery yellow or gold all at the same time, and after a few weeks fall all at once — like a carpet on the lawn or sidewalk. The tree is large, handsome and usually problem free.
Botanical name: Ginkgo biloba
USDA zones: 3 to 8 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Moderate; could grow in a lawn. The soil ought to be well-drained.
Light demand : Complete sun, though partial shade is often OK
Mature size: 35 to 50 feet high (may be taller) and 15 to 40 feet wide, depending on variety; some varieties are more streamlined or spreading
Growing hints :Unnamed trees grown from seeds may be female and produce a mess of stinky fruit.Make sure you opt for a named variety, such as’Autumn Gold’,’Saratoga’ or’Pendula’.
More about growing ginko trees
Phase a late series with perennials. This is a superb time to plant perennials for next spring and summer months, including campanula, columbine, coreopsis, gaillardia, penstemon, salvia and yarrow.
Do not miss Japanese anemone, a perennial with some rare promises to fame: It blossoms in fall, takes colour and is easy to grow. The blossoms are a gorgeous glistening white (shown here) or rose or pink. The growth tends to be rangy. It’s ideal to put plants at the back of a bed or border, or from a fence or wall, in which floppiness won’t matter.
Common name: Japanese anemone
Botanical name: Anemone hupehensis (A. hybrida)
USDA zones: 4 to 9
Water requirement: Moist but well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 1 foot to five feet large
Growing tips: Be prepared to stake tall plants. Clumps can disperse widely; divide the roots in fall or spring.
More about growing anemone
Natives are waiting. California native plants, clearly, are wired to be in sync with all our upside-down seasons. Planted in fall, they’re programmed to start putting on major growth once the winter storms come, perform in spring and largely shut down in summer, when water is rare. One unsung native that works on cue is bush poppy (shown), a bright yellow evergreen shrub that shares worthy features of additional reputable Californians such as manzanita and ceanothus. It requires no water once established, has no or few problems with pests or diseases, and blossoms for a long season, largely in spring but even stretching into summer. Like other sailors, it may look a bit crazy, but it might stand pruning for the sake of neatness.
Common name: Bush poppy
Botanical name: Dendromecon rigida
USDA zones: 8 to 10
Water requirement: Light; no more irrigation necessary after the plant is created
Light condition: Complete sun
Mature size: 4 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide.
Growing tips: Plant it on dry slopes in the company of other natives. Make sure the soil drains well. Unlike a lot of natives, it may be pruned; cut it back to as low as 4 ft after blossom.
More California native plants
Start gradually with wildflowers. Another California myth: Scatter some wildflowers seeds and you get a gold and blue spring meadow. California wildflowers are definitely wonders of nature but are not miracle workers. But pick the proper species, do the preparation, plant at the right time and get a rest from the weather, also you may have blossoms to treasure next spring. One suggestion: Start small and gradually, with the easy mix exhibited here: pink farewell to spring (Clarkia) and California poppies.
It’s usually better to sow wildflower seeds in November or perhaps later, once the rains could be near. Select a spot in full sun. Prepare the floor by tilling or by raking it roughly. Try to cover the seeds with soil or mulch to help them remain moist for sun. Sprinkle with water and keep the seeds moist, if you can, before the rains come. A fantastic supply of planting information, in addition to seeds, is Larner Seeds.
Grow some soup and more. Kale salad did it — I simply didn’t know what the buzz was around. Now I get it. Kale is excellent in classic Italian soups such as minestrone and ribollita. To be true, try’Lacinito’ or dinosaur kale (shown), so named because its leaves are like skin that is rough.
Kale is among the many leafy green crops to plant out of seeds or seedlings in early fall. Others include spinach and lettuce. You are also able to plant cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Good luck with Brussels sprouts unless you live at the shore and know what you’re doing.
For cool-season veggies, be sure that you opt for a spot that gets full sun . It’s possible to start these from seeds sown directly in the floor now or soon: beets, carrots, peas, radish, spinach and Swiss chard. Set out transplants of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. In warm inland climates, wait till the weather cools later in the month. Should you plant kale seedlings early in the month, you may also get a fantastic fall harvest.
How to grow cool-season veggies
Create your bulb aims soon. How can something this beautiful be so easy? Old preferred spring bloomers include crocuses, daffodils, freesias, hyacinths, and tulips. Now is the time to choose and purchase spring bulbs for fall planting; as a rule of thumb, start looking for the fattest bulbs (much more productive than cheaper scrawny ones).
No rush on planting, however. Wait till October or November to plant, especially in warm climates. Chill tulip and hyacinth bulbs before planting themplace the bulbs in a paper bag and keep them in the refrigerator for fourteen days.
Growing bulbs in mild California is definitely distinct. More info on growing bulbs in warm climates
What Else to Do in September in Your California Garden
Concentrate on harvesting summertime treats such as peppers, tomatoes and squash. You might also start laying the groundwork for a productive fall planting season.
Maintain the veggies coming. Harvest tomatoes, beans and squash as soon as they’re ready — unless you’re going to get a supersize zucchini as a trophy or to bake and stuff.
Stretch the summer for summer blossoms. Keep blossoms coming by pinching off faded flowers of annuals such as marigolds and zinnias. Keep plants well watered. Continue feeding monthly or every 2 weeks.
Continue watering. During such a dry year, this may be a crucial time even for established shrubs and trees. Check for soil moisture from probing with a trowel or shovel. Established natives and other drought-resistant plants ought to be OK.
Encourage roses. After roses complete their early fall bloom, try for more blossoms by cutting off old flowers, watering completely and fertilizing.
Revive your lawn. Following a summer slump, irrigate completely — at least an inch of water a week to get a typical bluegrass lawn; less for more drought-resistant types. Fertilize with a complete lawn food.
How to give your lawn a fall tune-up
Divide crowded perennials. This will enhance performance next spring and multiply your source of crops such as agapanthus, penstemon, Shasta daisy and candytuft. Dig up root clumps, cut them in to planting-size segments and replant in beds replenished with organic matter such as compost.
Prepare planting beds. Get planting beds ready for fall planting. As a rule, for beds of annuals and perennials, add 2 to 3 inches of organic matter and operate it in to a depth of a foot or so.
Dig planting holes. If you’re planting good-size shrubs and trees, moisten the area a day or two beforehand. Dig a hole at least several inches deep and as broad as necessary, and also fill the nut hole with water several times that day. Let it simmer for a few days and dig to the full depth once you plant.
See what to do in your U.S. area this month