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September Garden Chores

Don't miss the video link at the bottom of the page!


  • Fertilize fescue and bluegrass lawn. Use slow-release fertilizer to reduce risk of nutrient run-off.
  • This is the time to reseed bare spots in the fescue and bluegrass lawns.
  • Although weeds have been plentiful this year, remember that you cannot use pre-emergent herbicides (weed preventers) in the same season you are planting seeds.


  • Do NOT fertilize shrubs. Late season nitrogen can reduce cold hardiness of woody plants.
  • Butterfly bush will produce flowers until frost if you keep the dead flowers removed.
  • This is a good time to cut flowers for drying. Good candidates for air drying include celosia, yarrow, statice, globe amaranth, strawflowers, goldenrod and grasses.
  • If you are planning some re-landscaping, fall is a good time to plant shrubs and perennials. Shop now while some garden centers have plants on sale.
  • Move house plants indoors before temperatures drop below 50° F. Start checking house plants for signs of insects so they can be treated a few times before moving back indoors. While you are at it, go ahead and give the plants a good bath with the garden hose, remove dead leaves and cut back long stems.


  • Spray the trunks of peach, cherry and plum trees with permethrin to prevent peach tree borers. The new borer sprays do not have much residual, so it is best to spray the lower part of the trunk, to ground level, a couple of times in late August and early September.
  • Strawberries are forming next spring’s flower buds now. Fertilize, weed and water as needed.
  • Prune blackberries and raspberries if not already done. Remove the canes that bore fruit this year.


  • There have been a lot of diseases in the vegetable garden this year. Remove spent vegetable plants right away to reduce carry-over of insect and disease problems. Consider keeping a separate compost pile for diseased plants and do not use that compost in the vegetable garden.
  • This will be a difficult year to successfully save those green tomatoes to ripen indoors. If the plant is infected with late blight the fruit will usually rot before it ripens, even after washing with bleach.
  • Plant the fall vegetables by mid-month. This includes broccoli, collards, and other leafy greens. Plant lettuce seeds every couple of weeks for a continual harvest.
  • Insects can be a problem with all of the cabbage family crops. A weekly application of B.t. bacteria spray will prevent cabbageworms. Use insecticidal soap for aphids if needed.


  • Keep filling the hummingbird feeder. Migrating birds will make use of the food supply even into October.
  • Keep after those weeds to prevent them from spreading seeds.

For more information, view the following video produced by BCTV 2, hosted by Linda Blue or call 255-5522.

September Garden Chores

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this article as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this article does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.