Fall Gardening Tips for Zone 7B



Lawns

  • Aerate, over-seed and fertilize fescue lawns to help them recover from summer stress.  Lower mower height to 2.5”
  • Apply a winterizer fertilizer and weed preventer to warm-season grasses to prevent winter weeds such as annual bluegrass.  Raise mowing height by .5”
  • Be sure to remove leaves from lawn as necessary.

Trees & Shrubs

  • Now is an optimal time to plant!  The soil is still warm, the weather is cooling off, and usually the rainfall is dependable; three things that help plants become established before the first frost.  See our successful planting guide.
  • Continue to pay attention to the rainfall.  The sweltering heat of summer has passed but trees and shrubs less than a year old still need 1” of water per week until the leaves fall (or through January if evergreen)
  • While you are cleaning out fallen leaves from your yard, don’t forget to also clean out your beds to ensure you aren’t overwintering pests or disease.
  • Don’t prune!   In the South, fall is the worst time for pruning because all the new growth you stimulate will be promptly burnt up by the first frost.  Most pruning should be done in late winter or spring.  For more info see our pruning guide.

Perennials

  • Fall is a great time of year to plant perennials.  Fall planting allows the root system of the plant to establish before the onset of winter.
  • A light does of fertilizer such as Plant Tone, Dr. Earth Starter Fertilizer or Rock Phosphate will promote root growth and vigor.
  • Soil preparation is crucial.  Amending as much of the Carolina clay as possible and adding a nutrient rich soil mix will guarantee your plants will thrive.
  • We always have a great selection or ornamental grasses, plus fall blooming and evergreen perennials to add to your beds, borders and containers.

Annuals

  • Fall is a great time for planting those cool season vegetables.  To name a few- mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, swiss chard and collards.
  • It’s time to think mums and pansies!  Mums will give you vibrant color in your annual bed or containers as summer annuals start to fade.  Pansies planted in fall will give color in winter and really put on a show the following spring.  Be on the lookout for other cool season annuals like snapdragons and dianthus.
  • Don’t forget about those wonderful ornamental chards, mustards, cabbages and kales that mix so well with your fall blooming annuals.  They will also put on a spring show with beautiful long stemmed yellow flowers that seem to reach the sky.
  • It is time to think about spring blooming bulbs.  Shop early for best selection of daffodils, hyacinth and tulips but plant them between Halloween & Christmas (and don’t miss our Spring Forward! Layered Bulb Container class).  Remember the deer and other ground dwelling rodents do not like the taste of daffodils, so this bulb is one to surely add to the landscape if you share your property with these furry animals.  Consider using a ring of them around other bulbs.  More bulb planting tips are here.

Vegetable Gardening

  • Be sure to rip out all of your dead and dying summer vegetable plants if you haven’t already and, plant cool season crops like lettuce, greens, kale, carrots and other root vegetables to harvest through the winter.  It’s also the time to plant garlic and onions.  If you don’t want to plant a fall/winter garden, it’s a good idea to till your soil and plant a cover crop such as clover or rye grass.  We offer tiller rentals should you choose to use one and don’t have one.  At a minimum, dispose of dead plants and clean up debris as to not over winter pests or disease.

Water Gardening

  • Use a net over your pond to catch most of the falling leaves and debris.  Leaves will decay and can cause many problems in your ecosystem.
  • Feel free to cut back the perennial additions to your pond including cattail rush, thalia and pondeteria.  Remove and compost all tropical floaters such as water lettuce and hyacinth.
  • Use the Autumn Prep Kit, which contains cool water hardy bacteria and microbes which help to accelerate the breakdown of fish wastes and other debris.
  • Cooler temperatures will slow down your fish’s metabolism, and so we recommend switching over to a cool season food, higher in fat and lower in protein to accommodate this change and keep your fish happy and healthy.

For more tips, see our article on Fall Planting Tips.