Image of Landscaping
Image of Landscaping
Icon
Transition Your Landscape From Summer to Fall
Keep your yard colorful and healthy throughout the change in seasons
By Carol J. Alexander
With the reds of maple leaves and winterberry, the gold of goldenrod, and the blue of asters, fall is a beautifully colorful time of year.
With the right landscaping plans, you can bring an array of hues to your property and prevent your summertime greens from transitioning to dull browns when colder weather sets in.

Consider these tips for a healthy lawn, a kaleidoscope of autumn plant colors, and a scenic landscape as winter approaches.

Troy-Bilt
Troy-Bilt
/ Fall Lawn Maintenance Tasks /
If you live in an area of the country that experiences a significant change in seasons, you have a small window of opportunity to prepare your lawn for the winter: when temperatures start dipping, but before things begin to freeze. During this time, your lawn experiences less stress than in the extreme climates of summer and winter.

The right fall prep will help your lawn survive the cold and remain strong until spring rains come. Ore Navarro, certified arborist and commercial business developer with the mid-Atlantic region of TruGreen, suggests the following four tasks:

Task 1: Keep Up the Maintenance.
Continue mowing and watering your lawn on a regular basis. Though your grass’s growth will slow down, it won’t stop until frost hits, which means your lawn still needs regular care. Wait until you notice there’s no more grass growth to stop mowing and watering.
Task 2: Apply a Slow-Release Fertilizer.
This ensures a gradual release of nutrients. Ore adds: “Potash is a good idea because it provides additional nutrients to strengthen the root system.” Potash is primarily used as a fertilizer to support plant growth, increase crop yield and disease resistance, and enhance water preservation.
Task 3: Apply a Late-Season Weed Control and Pesticide.
“If you practice grub control now as a preventative [measure], you’ll have less during the growing season,” Ore says.
Task 4: Aerate and Seed Bare Spots.
Aerating your lawn allows water and fertilizer to reach the roots easier. Seeding in the fall gives the seed time to put its energy into new root growth before winter.
/ Planting for Fall: When and What /
Pair your healthy lawn with blooms, shrubs, and trees that bring fall’s best colors to your yard.

When to Plant:
According to Phillip Nisly, a landscape designer with Fine Earth in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the best time to plant pretty much anything in your yard is between Labor Day and when the temperature is uncomfortably cold. “It’s a gentle time, when the temperatures aren’t too hot, the shorter days have less sun stress, and the plants have less shock,” Phillip says.

What to Plant for Fall Color:
Chrysanthemums and marigolds are staples in the autumn landscape, but Phillip has some more ideas:

Image of Wildfire Black Gum
Wildfire Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
Text Wildfire Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) erupts each spring with bold red foliage that turns to dark green, then scarlet in the fall.

Other colorful trees for fall include red maple and the American sweetgum (hardy for zones 5 through 9).

Text

Wildfire Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) erupts each spring with bold red foliage that turns to dark green, then scarlet in the fall.

Other colorful trees for fall include red maple and the American sweetgum (hardy for zones 5 through 9).

Image of Oakleaf hydrangea
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
Text

Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is one of few hydrangea species native to the United States and it thrives in the Southeast. The plants produce white or pink flowers with both single and double blooms. In fall, the leaves change to magnificent shades of red, orange, yellow, or burgundy.

Another great addition is bluebeard, a medium-sized woody shrub with fragrant silvery-green foliage that produces cornflower-blue flowers in late summer.

Image of Wildfire Black Gum
Arkansas blue star’s (Amsonia hubrichtii)
Text Arkansas blue star’s (Amsonia hubrichtii) pale blue star-shaped flowers bloom in spring. The delicate, light green foliage turns a beautiful golden-yellow in the fall. It can grow to almost 3 feet tall.

Other perennials that bloom from late summer into the fall include black-eyed Susans, Japanese anemones, and asters. Philip suggests the mildew-resistant aster varieties.

Phillip also likes to plant goldenrod to add a bit of yellow to fall landscapes. “There are new cultivars that don’t spread and are smaller. They fit well into contemporary landscapes and are well-behaved,” he says.

Text

Arkansas blue star’s (Amsonia hubrichtii) pale blue star-shaped flowers bloom in spring. The delicate, light green foliage turns a beautiful golden-yellow in the fall. It can grow to almost 3 feet tall.

Other perennials that bloom from late summer into the fall include black-eyed Susans, Japanese anemones, and asters. Philip suggests the mildew-resistant aster varieties.

Phillip also likes to plant goldenrod to add a bit of yellow to fall landscapes. “There are new cultivars that don’t spread and are smaller. They fit well into contemporary landscapes and are well-behaved,” he says.

Image of Shenandoah switchgrass
Shenandoah switchgrass (Panicum virgatum Shenandoah)
Text

Shenandoah switchgrass (Panicum virgatum Shenandoah) is grown for its burgundy tipped blades. In the fall, the entire plant turns into a gorgeous blend of red and orange.

Image of Rainbow Swiss chard
Rainbow Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris)
Text Rainbow Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) is “both beautiful and delicious,” Phillip says. Normally relegated to the vegetable garden, this large-leafed cousin of the sugar beet stays both fresh-looking and colorful from spring through fall.
Text

Rainbow Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) is “both beautiful and delicious,” Phillip says. Normally relegated to the vegetable garden, this large-leafed cousin of the sugar beet stays both fresh-looking and colorful from spring through fall.

/ Planning Ahead: Plant for Spring and Summer Color /
Along with adding autumnal colors to your landscape, it’s a good idea to think ahead to what you’d like growing and blooming on your land in the following seasons.

Bulbs need the latent period over winter to produce their flowers in the spring. For a burst of spring color, a few go-tos include tulips, hyacinth, and iris. All of these come in a variety of red, pink, blue, white, and violet.

Perennials, trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses should also be planted in the fall to give them time to establish strong roots that will withstand the ravages of winter cold and wind. Continue watering them up until the first frost and apply at least 2 inches of shredded mulch to hold in the moisture.

Image of Gardening
Image of Leafs
/ How to Handle Leaf Collection /
Autumn is also called fall because, well, leaves fall from the trees. Left on the lawn, they mat together creating a barrier to water, promoting disease. Phillip recommends finely mulching the leaves so they integrate back into the lawn and provide essential nutrients. If you don’t have a mulching mower, he suggests raking and composting them.

“If you don’t keep a compost bin, put them out for your municipal leaf pickup so they do get composted and used where needed,” he says.

Are you ready to start prepping your lawn and garden for the fall? Stop by your local Tractor Supply, where a friendly team member would be happy to help you select all the tools and supplies you’ll need.
About the Writer
Carol J. Alexander writes about sustainable living, food, and home remodeling from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Get in Touch with Out Here

Your ideas and opinions are important to us. If you’d like to recommend a story, submit a recipe, share an event for Here & There, or tell us what you think of the digital magazine, please reach out.

Send us a message
at OutHere@TractorSupply.com

Send mail to:
Out Here magazine
c/o The Motion Agency
325 N. LaSalle Dr., Suite 550
Chicago, IL 60654

Tractor Supply Co.