September gardening tips


As we start to have cooler weather, September is a great time to start cleaning your garden. Use these gardening tips below to enjoy being in the garden this fall:


  • Do not apply any more nitrogen to lawns; it is time for them to get ready for winter.
  • If your soil test report showed low potassium levels, apply a high potassium fertilizer such as 0-0-50 (2 pounds per 1,000 square feet) by mid-September.
  • If your lawn had problems with large patch in the spring, treat this fall.
  • Days are getting shorter and cooler. Start cutting back on irrigation this month.
  • If your lawn had problems with large patch in the spring, treat this fall with a fungicide.

    Trees, shrubs and flowers

  • Plant pansies and other winter annuals from mid-September through mid-October to get established before frost.
  • Resist the urge to do any major pruning in the fall. Fall pruning depletes food reserves needed to initiate spring growth. Only prune out dead, dying or diseased branches.
  • Save seeds from favorite self-pollinating annual flowers such as marigolds and zinnias by allowing the flower heads to mature. Lay seeds on newspaper and turn them often to dry. Store dry seeds in glass jars, envelopes or paper bags in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Leaf spot diseases are common on trees and shrubs in fall but rarely need to be treated.
  • September is a good time to divide and transplant spring-blooming perennials.
  • Did you keep last year’s poinsettia? You can get it to flower by placing it in total uninterrupted darkness for 15 hours a day, starting the last week of September and continuing until colored bracts appear. Give them plenty of sunlight during the day.

    Fruit, vegetables and herbs

  • Set out broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, collard, lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard transplants in early September.
  • Sow dill and cilantro for fall harvest.
  • Muscadine grapes start ripening now and continue through the fall.
  • Fall is a good time for improving your garden soil. Add manure, compost and leaves to increase organic matter content.
  • Sow radish every few weeks through mid-October.
  • Watch out for caterpillars and aphids on fall vegetable crops.

    Jessica Strickland is an agriculture extension agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.

    Upcoming Wayne County Extension Gardening Programs

  • Visit the Farm Credit Farmers Market located behind The Maxwell Center at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro. Market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Follow up on Facebook and Instagram @farmcreditfarmersmarket.

    Fall Fest at the Farmers Market — Saturday, Sept. 14

  • Celebrate the fall season at the Fall Fest at the Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Farm Credit Farmers Market is located behind The Maxwell Center, at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro. Shop the farmers market for fresh, local produce and handmade crafts.
  • Event will also include free hay rides, mums for sell by Eastern Wayne FFA, small pumpkins for sell by Wayne County 4-H, apple dessert contest, kids pumpkin decorating contest and much more!
  • Visit the Farm Credit Farmers Market on Facebook and Instagram for more information

    Woody Ornamentals: Trees and Shrubs Workshop

  • Wednesday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wayne County Extension Office, The Maxwell Center, 3114B Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro.
  • Pest Management in the Garden workshop will cover how you can incorporate more trees and shrubs in your landscape. Learn about trees and shrubs that are suited for our climate to give ideas for plants to add to your own garden.
  • Registration fee is $5. Registration is not required. Arrive a few minutes early to register.
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