How About All this Rainfall?

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August usually means lots of hot dry weather. During last week we had at least one "rain event" that was pretty substantial. Some readers had several inches of rain in fact. Things we can do and see while we are waiting for things to dry out are:


  • Clean the air filter on the lawnmower
  • Sharpen the mower blade or blades for the fall mowing season
  • Dig out the fertilizer spreader and make sure it is working properly
  • Purchase your fall fertilizer or
  • Order your topdressing material for your lawn for delivery later
  • Do a weed inventory and decide if a fall weed control will be needed

Flower beds

  • See what needs to be deadheaded yet this year
  • Look for perennial plants that will need to be divided next spring
  • Head to your favorite garden center or retail nursery for end of the season specials you just have to have
  • Figure out where you are going to plant those perennials you just bought



  • Check out the compost pile or bin – will you have to empty a bin or turn the compost pile before adding new materials this fall?
  • Make a mental note NOT TO ADD weed seed heads when cleaning up this fall
  • If you have a chipper shredder, change the oil, clean the air cleaner, add fresh gas and run the engine long enough to get it hot


Houseplants that have been outside for the summer

  • Look them over for condition, ones to save and take indoors, others that are compost worthy
  • Compost worthy are those that are too old, too big, covered in scale insects or have mite, for example
  • For ones you are saving, will you need to treat for insects while they are still outside and before cold weather shows up
  • Mark the calendar to be sure they are inside by mid-September so they are acclimated for the winter months.

Every yard is different and some of those late summer early fall garden tasks can take more time than others. Start earlier on the long term chores so you are done with them in a timely manner. Hurrying to get the houseplants in just after dark and before that predicted frost is never fun.

Once we dry out, get back to working in the vegetable and flower beds and mowing the lawn. There will always be plenty to do right up to the weekend when the weather finally stops us. Taking the time now to put together that "to do" list goes a long way towards getting the yard put to bed for the winter.

About the author: Richard Hentschel’s expertise extends across several subject areas with specialties in lawn care, fruit tree production, woody ornamentals, and home and community gardening. During his 45-year career in horticulture and agriculture, Hentschel became a well-known and respected expert for commercial and homeowner audiences, industry organizations, and media. He retired from University of Illinois Extension in April 2022 with nearly 30 years of service as a Horticulture Specialist and Educator in northern Illinois.