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To-Do List for the Fall Garden in Columbus, Ohio


A flower garden can tell you a lot at the end of the growing season. You’ll want to assess the results of all your spring and summer work, and prepare the garden for next spring.

  • First, take a walk around your garden and look at how all the plants did over the summer.
  • Track successes and failures of individual plants.
  • Identify which plants have outgrown their space and need to be divided.
  • Determine which bare areas could use soil amendment and new plants.
  • Add mulch where necessary.
  • Check the overall health of plants — look for diseases and damage.
  • Replace summer annuals in window boxes and garden beds with cool-weather flowers.
  • Dig up any bulb plants that aren’t hardy in your zone.


You’ll want to weed, deadhead faded blooms, divide overgrown plants, dig up nonhardy bulbs for winter storage, remove spent annuals, amend soil and add needed mulch. Replace ties with jute twine. Natural fibers make the best ties because they’re more flexible. They’ll break down over time, but at that point, it will be time to retie the plants anyway.

More fall maintenance tips to help keep your garden healthy and happy:

  • Disinfect pruners before using them on other plants as you remove spent blooms and foliage throughout the garden.
  • Don’t put any diseased plants into your compost pile.
  • Amend soil where there are bare spots or where you’ve removed annuals. Add compost and peat moss to replace nutrients lost during summer growth and to better prepare the soils for spring planting. Turn the amendments into the soil with a garden fork to distribute it evenly.
  • Brush off any mulch that’s sitting on branches of shrubs because it can cause leaves and needles to yellow.
  • Dividing perennials reinvigorates plants and gives you new plants to add to other areas of your garden or to share with neighbors and friends.