Fall Gardening Checklist for the Horticulturally-Challenged

I’ve lived in my new home for a mere 6 months, and my neighbours already hate me. Okay, hate is a strong word. Maybe they don’t hate me, but I’m fairly certain I’ve been on the receiving end of more than one disapproving side-eye. See, I purchased my home from a lovely couple who had lived there for over 30 years, and one of their favourite pastimes was gardening. They cultivated beautiful, well-thought out garden beds that were tastefully manicured and always in bloom. And then I moved in. The only thing ‘green’ about me is the envy I feel when I encounter someone who has this seemingly instinctive knowledge of every tree, bush and bulb! So, because I value your relationship with your neighbours, and because I’m constantly losing sight of my child in the untamed wild that is my backyard, I did a little research on fall gardening tips and found this awesome checklist that, if completed, will put you on the path to spring gardening success!


  • Collect seed and herbs for drying
  • Add compost or manure to garden beds
  • Cover water features with netting to collect falling leaves
  • Check houseplants for pests, then start to move indoors
  • Plant new trees and shrubs at least 6 weeks before frost
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Clean bird feeders, gardening tools
  • Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes
  • Bring in any clay pots
  • Pull weeds before they go to seed to reduce the number of weeds next year
  • Fertilize your lawn


  • Transplant shrubs or young trees to new locations
  • Cut diseased areas out of perennials, but do not compost
  • Rake and compost any fallen leaves
  • Clean up garden debris and remove all vegetable plants and fallen fruit
  • Remove dead annuals from the garden, after a frost
  • Cut back perennial foliage to discourage overwintering pests
  • Leave flowers with seeds for the birds
  • Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes
  • Sharpen lawn mower blade and pruners
  • Trim tall grass away from trees and corners of your home to discourage small rodents
    from creating nests
  • Dig up tender bulbs such as dahlia, canna and gladiola. Wrap them in moist material and store in a cool, dark space


  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Divide spring and summer blooming perennial plants
  • Turn off outside water connections and drain garden hoses
  • Buy bulbs to force for winter
  • Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes
  • Wrap screening around fruit tree trunks to protect from small animals
  • Mulch rose bushes
  • Clean fallen leaves in downspouts and gutters


  • Start paperwhites and amaryllis for winter blooms


*checklist courtesy of landscapeontario.com