Start Cuttings to Overwinter Tender Plants
Now is a great time to start cuttings from cold-tender landscape plants which will soon be killed by the first hard freeze. Select shoots that are in between succulent and woody. Take cuttings about 4 inches long, remove leaves from the lower 2 nodes of the cutting, dip the cut end of the stem in a rooting compound, then stick into light potting mix and place in a moist chamber in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Most species will root in a couple of months. Young plants can then be transplanted into containers and overwintered in a greenhouse, sunroom or other bright indoor location.
Divide Summer Blooming Perennials
This is a good time to start dividing summer blooming perennials including amaryllis, calla, canna, daylily, iris, and liriope. It is also a good time to divide hardy ferns. Work a few inches of compost into the soil and reset these plants for renewed growth. Don't allow them to dry out in the dividing and replanting process. Share a few with your gardening friends too!
Control Fire Ants
Fire ants can really spoil the outdoor experience when they infest compost piles, lawns, and gardens. Early fall is an excellent time to control them and you'll still be enjoying the benefits next spring. Low toxicity products are available, including baits and mound treatments. Apply baits late in the day when the ants are out foraging. A good way to tell if they are active is to toss a paper chip or tuna can lid on the ground and check back in 15 minutes to see if they are feeding on it.
Control Perennial Weeds Now
Late summer through early fall is a good time to control those difficult-to-eradicate perennial weeds like nutsedge, wild blackberry, poison ivy and bermudagrass. Options include hand digging (watch out for the poison ivy!) or sprays of an herbicide such as glyphosate. They are storing sugars for winter and are more susceptible to these control efforts now than they would be in spring.
Prepare Soil for Wildflower Planting
Planning a mini wildflower meadow area for your landscape? Now is the time to get the spot ready for planting in October. Wildflowers love sun and good drainage, with few exceptions. Lightly till the soil prior to planting. Mow turf and meadow areas very closely to help the seedlings receive maximum light and to minimize competition from existing weeds.