University of Illinois Extension


Sharon Yiesla
Unit Educator, Horticulture
Lake County

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Fall Garden Wrap-Up Checklist

1. Bring in houseplants that have summered outdoors.

  • Bring them in when night temperatures consistently fall into the lower 50's.
  • Try to avoid abrupt changes in light and temperature.
  • Check for insects prior to bringing them inside; washing the plant with plain water will remove many pests.
  • Re-pot if plant has outgrown its container.
  • Some plants that have grown vigorously outside may need some pruning.

2. Clean up vegetable gardens and annual flowerbeds.

  • Harvest all usable vegetables and annual flowers before frost.
  • Leftover debris can be tilled into soil or placed into compost pile.
  • Clean up weeds as they can harbor diseases and insects.
  • Add compost and other organic material to enrich the soil.
  • Mulch beds to prevent erosion during winter.

3. Clean up perennial flowerbeds.

  • Remove weeds.
  • After we have a couple of frosts, mulch the perennial bed.
  • Tops of plants can be cut back now or in early spring.
  • New perennials can be planted in fall; established perennials can be divided; these activities should be done in early fall (mid-September to mid-October) to allow time for plants to root before the soil cools.

4. Tree and shrub maintenance

  • Prune trees after they go dormant (lose their leaves) or in early spring.
  • Prune late summer and fall flowering shrubs after they go dormant.
  • DO NOT prune evergreens or spring-flowering shrubs in fall.
  • Trees and shrubs can be fertilized after they go dormant or in spring.
  • Continue regular watering as long as ground is not frozen.

5. Miscellaneous

  • Plant spring flowering bulbs in early fall (mid-September to mid-October).
  • Clean garden tools so they will be ready for next season.
  • See to proper storage of seeds, fertilizer and garden chemicals.
  • Drain and store garden hoses.
  • Consider composting as a method to deal with garden debris and autumn leaves.


October - November 2000: Recycling Leaves in the Yard | Fall Garden Wrap-Up Checklist | Preparing Lawns for Winter | Pumpkins and Cranberries

Past Issues

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