September Gardening Tips
for the Willamette Valley

by Rod Smith

Former Iowa Certified Nurseryman and
Oregon Certified Nursery Professional

© 2002-2023 Rodney A. Smith
All rights reserved.


Spring flowering bulbs can be planted now through Novermber. Plant with one tablespoon of bulb food per bulb.

Mums, Japanese Anemones, Sedum and Flowering Kale and Cabbage can be planted now for fall color. Pansies can be planted for flowers most of the winter.

Lawns, trees and shrubs need less care when planted in September and early October. The cool moist weather reduces transplant shock. The warm soil encourages faster root growth. The plant has several months to get established before spring growth starts.

Late September is an excellent time to divide and replant crowded perennials.


Cut off old flowers, especially on butterfly bush (Buddleia). This prevents seeds from becoming weeds.

Pruning in the fall might encourage new growth that won't survive winter weather. Fall pruning should be limited to cutting back long branches and correcting weak branches that might break in winter winds and ice. It is also a good time to remove dead wood, which is harder to spot during winter pruning, when all the branches are bare of leaves.


Cranefly larva can be controlled by cutting way back on watering the lawn after Labor Day since the larva need moist soil to survive.

Cherries, plums and peaches, both flowering and fruiting varieties, should be sprayed with copper sulfate before fall rains start to prevent dead bud and peach leaf curl.

Beneficial nematodes should be applied before mid-October around rhodies, azaleas and other plants with notches on the leaves from root weevils to prevent the root weevil larvae from killing the roots. They can also be applied to lawns to control European cranefly larvae.

A grassy weed preventer, such as Halts or Team, can be applied to lawns to prevent annual bluegrass.
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