Your Fall Gardening Checklist


star-sponsored-native The following is sponsored by Slow the Flow.

By Faye Rutishauser – Water Conservation Coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Resources

We did it, we survived the extreme heat of summer!  It’s time to get back in our yards and take advantage of cooler weather, warm soils, and rain storms. Here’s some tips on how to make it happen.


Hint: Fall is for gardening!

  • Fall is absolutely fantastic for planting just about anything cold hardy. Not only do plants experience less transplant shock, local nurseries are offering discounts!
  • Rainstorms have made it easier, we don’t need to water.
  • Spot spray and/or pull those weeds.
    • Perennial weeds are busy moving nutrients into their roots. Let them move some herbicide too!
    • Manually removing young weeds saves you time and money.
    • Weeds that have flowered and seeded need a special spot in the dumpster.
  • Yippee, bulbs! There is no better way to be greeted in the spring. Get digging before that ground freezes!


Hint:  We see the green blades but deep roots are the key to a gorgeous lawn!

  • Roots are how a plant takes up water and nutrients to support lush looking lawns that are resilient against heat, drought and foot traffic. For healthy roots and in turn blades:
    • Core aerate the lawn. This allows water, nutrients and air to pass through the soil down to the roots.  The roots then take those resources and feed them to the blades.  Picture drinking out of a straw and the fluids dispersing through our bodies.  That’s what roots do!
    • Apply a high nitrogen, slow release fertilizer to the lawn.
  • In summer, it’s ideal to keep your grass taller to encourage deep root growth. In the fall it’s opposite, you lower the mower height down to 2” to stimulate root growth. Silly grass!
  • Act on your plans to replace grass areas that are difficult to water, mow and lack curb appeal. Consider water-wise plants or hardscaping that are better suited for the location.


Hint:  Perennials are so easy!

  • Cut back herbaceous perennials (soft stems) that have started to die back to the ground.
  • Remove any plants that you thought grew well here but don’t. No one’s got time for that!
  • Divide (insert the shovel into the center of the plant and separate) 4-5-year-old perennials, for increased performance, blooms and more plants!


Hint:  Trees produce oxygen.  We need oxygen to live!tree

  • While you are performing fall yard clean up, deep soak large existing trees, especially evergreens.
    • Rule of thumb, you need 10 gallons for every 1” of trunk diameter.
    • At medium pressure that’s about 15 minutes for every 1” diameter.
    • Split the total water needed into 3 spots around the drip line
  • Apply or refresh mulch to a depth of 4”.
    • Mulch from just outside the trunk to the drip line or a minimum of 3’ diameter.
  • Plant new trees adapted to Utah.


What are you doing still reading?  Go out there and get your gardening on!