Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks

Autumn (Fall) offers the perfect opportunity to catch up on your gardening chores. Not only is it cooler and more comfortable to work in autumn, but autumn gardening tasks also mean less work and expense in the busy spring season.

Many of these tasks are actually better done in autumn than in spring. Here’s what a group of motivated gardeners has to say about essential autumn gardening chores on #groundchat.


Reseeding and aerate the lawn.

“Fall is the best time to core aerate your soil, helps lawn roots,” says Mike Caprio, Senior Equipment Specialist at Lawn Doctor 

“Fall reseeding gives turf time to establish roots before winter and survive the following summer,” declares Mike.


Plant bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs while soil temperatures are above 10 degree Celsius (50 degree Fahrenheit).

“Fall is an ideal time to plant bare root fruit trees — dormant trees suffer less transplant shock,” says Sarah DePass, Social Representative at Stark Bros Nurseries & Orchards 

And you will great prices at local garden centres as they get rid of their inventory before winter sets in. The downside is less choice in what you can buy.

Build up soil

Fall is the best time to prepare new garden beds and amend existing ones.

“Always test your soil first before you add amendments, especially amendments that change soil pH. The soil might not need it,” says Cristina da Silva, garden writer and horticulturist at The Real Gardener.

Improve soil structure & fertility

Plant cover crops (buckwheat, rye, peas, alfalfa, clover).

“This is a good time to do soil amendments. Sow a cover crop. Depending on your USDA zone,” says Jeavonna Chapman, avid gardener from Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Cover crops are a great way to prevent erosion, prevent weed growth and build the soil.

Manure & compost

“Many gardeners prefer using sheep manure over cow manure because sheep manure contains less weed seeds,” says Cristina da Silva

Some gardeners find manure too strong, and opt to use compost instead.


“Did I tell you the many ways I love mulch in winter? Mulch moderates soil temps. Prevents root damage: freezing and upheaval,” says Cristina da Silva.

“Mulch is great secret weapon against elements in fall. Too much can become habitat for bark-eating rodents,” says Sarah DePass.

Add 3-4 in. of mulch around trees and shrubs. Keep 6 in. away from the trunk. Top up mulch (to 2 or 3 in.) on perennial garden beds.


Compost & mulch shredded fall leaves. Shredded leaves decompose easier and won’t mat!

“Composting recycles nutrients and helps keep leaves out of streets and storm sewers,” says The Grounds Crew, in Washington State, USA


“Since frost is still weeks away I have time to divide perennials,” says Maggie Lawrence, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Add more plants to your garden without added expense: Divide perennials Collect seeds from annuals.

Other Autumn tasks

Keep watering shrubs & trees. Hydrated plants survive frost, freeze and thaw events far better than water-stressed plants. Bring potted tropical plants indoors. And lastly, there are certain gardening tasks we shouldn’t do.

 Don’t cut back perennials

Many perennials survive winter better if they are left intact over the winter. Not only do you get to enjoy their silhouettes during winter, but the seedheads also provide much needed food for overwintering birds.

“It is great to leave some seed pods on plants so the birds have food for the winter!” says Yolanda Vanveen, Chief Media Officer of How to Garden Videos.

Written by Cristina da Silva
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in Plants & Soils

Social Sharing Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Delicious Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Digg Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Facebook Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Google+ Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on LinkedIn Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Pinterest Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on reddit Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on StumbleUpon Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Twitter Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Add to Bookmarks Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Email Share 'Autumn (Fall) Gardening Tasks' on Print Friendly


  1. Jennie says:

    When is the best time to trim trees?

    • For major pruning jobs, early spring is the best time to prune, except for spring flowering shrubs such as Forsythia, Magnolia, Lilac and trees which should be pruned after flowering. Shaping can be done later in the growing season. Broken and dead branches should be removed as soon as possible as these weakened areas allow easy entry for insects and diseases. Fruit trees should be pruned before the buds start to open in March or early April (Zone 5).

  2. I have done most the fall gardening tasks last weekend. Last one to do? Planting my bulbs. Can’t wait until spring to them blooming!

Leave a Reply to Cristina da Silva Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *