University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Transition Time in the Yard & Garden

September 24, 1998

Unusually warm temperatures over the past few weeks have provided us with a feeling of an extended summer. But this week, the official start of fall has brought more fall-like temperatures. Some gardeners may have been caught off-guard on things needing to be done.

For example, it is starting to get too late for seeding lawns. Certainly it can still be done, but gets riskier as each day passes. The potential problem is not enough time for seed to germinate and new plants to get established before hard freezes set in. New grass plants are susceptible to freeze damage.

There is still time for other lawn care practices. For example, now is an ideal time for favorable control for controlling dandelions and other broadleaf weeds with broadleaf herbicides. Read and follow all product label directions. Make sure there is adequate soil moisture, however, as weeds should be actively growing for best results. Lawns can also be aerated over the next few weeks.

You’ve probably heard the saying that fall is for planting. There’s still time for planting many trees and shrubs. Local nurseries and garden centers often have season-ending sales. Make sure new plantings have adequate water. Also water established trees and shrubs if conditions are dry.

Fall is also the time for planting spring-flowering bulbs. Many garden center outlets are well-stocked with a variety of species and cultivars to choose from. Keep in mind the basic secret to success — good soil drainage. Add organic matter to help improve clay soils. Raising planting beds may also help improve drainage.

If squirrels are a problem, putting chickenwire over the soil or beneath the soil surface may discourage them from digging up bulbs. Bulbs will grow through the holes in the wire.

Finally, continue harvesting any vegetable crops left in the garden. If the weather cooperates, a few more tomatoes or zucchini may still make it before the real cold temperatures arrive.


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