September is the ‘second spring,’ so get busy

September is the ‘second spring,’ so get busy

Marianne Binetti will speak at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at Windmill Gardens in Sumner. Her topic will be “Smart Gardening Ideas for Fall” – tips for lawn care and landscaping to lower your water bill and pesticide use. The talk is free, but registration is required; call 253-863-5843.

September is the start of our second spring. If you love outdoor living then remember this is the month that traditionally has the best weather for working, relaxing and dining outdoors. This is a great month to refresh your landscape with new plants. Here are the Top 10 things to do before the autumn weather turns cold, wet and windy.

1. Yank out any annual or bedding plants that are summer weary, seedy and sad. Life is too short to put up with ugly plants. Nurseries are restocking with fresh autumn color now. Keep growing.

2. Stop fertilizing roses and other perennials but do apply a “slow release” fall-and-winter lawn food to your grass as soon as the rains return later this month. Fall is the most important time to feed lawns in Western Washington but too much nitrogen ends up in our water supply.

3. Clean gutters and apply moss- and mildew-repelling sprays to the roof and hardscape if needed. Now is your last chance to have the roof cleaned, repaired or replaced before winter.

4. Harvest tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, apples and anything else that is edible before the bounty starts to rot on the vine. Your local food bank will take your extra food.

5. Keep watering rhododendrons and azaleas this month if you want maximum blooms next spring. They need at least one inch of water a week if rain does not fall.

6. If your hanging petunia baskets are still looking good, continue to feed, water and prune them lightly a few inches each week. You can keep your annual baskets looking good until October with lots of attention late in the season. (If you are tired of caring for your baskets by now, just let them dry out until they wilt and look ugly. Then you will be guilt free when you dump the ugly things onto the compost pile.)

7. Use a broom to sweep your outdoor living spaces of spiders and their webs. Don’t kill the spiders, as they are doing good things in your garden. Instead, just wipe the web and spider filled broom onto a tree trunk or shrub. You just need to relocate the insect-eating spiders away from the house.

8. Do not trim hedges, prune back roses or do major transplanting this month unless really necessary. Pruning stimulates growth and winter is coming. New growth is tender.

9. Dig perennial weeds like dandelions and blackberry vines from your lawn and landscape. The more you weed this month the fewer weeds you’ll have in the spring.

10. Celebrate the change in seasons. Buy mums, sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, ornamental cabbage and kale and notice what trees and shrubs are turning color. Nurseries have great sales in the fall so this is the time to add Japanese maples, burning bushes and hydrangeas to the landscape. Fall into a second spring as you freshen up the landscape.

• • •

For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to Marianne Binetti at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.

For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site,

Copyright for this column owned by Marianne Binetti.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Thoughts and prayers just aren’t enough | Roegner

The violence must stop. And our elected officials have the ability to stop it.

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Editorial: Act now to save salmon, regardless of dams’ fate

With a plan to remove dams on the Snake River shelved, leaders must commit to broader-based actions.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Parents have decision to make on vaccinating kids

With one vaccine now approved for kids 12 and older, parents shouldn’t wait for a school requirement.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
How George Floyd’s death is changing history | Roegner

The death of George Floyd at the knee of Minneapolis Police Officer… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Needle exchange program: Compassion vs. intolerance | Roegner

One of the more creative methods for treating drug users is the… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at
Rethinking a natural gas ban in Washington state | Brunell

Sometimes being first isn’t good. Such is the case with legislation making… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
Asian women and racial violence in the aftermath of Atlanta | Guest column

In her famous essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous resurrects… Continue reading

Stock photo
Access to cash is a prescription for better health | Guest column

By Danny Low, For the Reporter As I see pictures of my… Continue reading

Stock photo
The right to vote helps rehumanize incarcerated people | Guest column

By Kim Bogucki, For The Reporter In 2008, I began asking incarcerated… Continue reading

Tim Eyman. File photo
Editorial: Judge’s rebuke of Eyman protects initiative process

Along with a $2.6 million fine, the ruling places restrictions on Eyman’s future initiative campaigns.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Regional homeless agency behind schedule, but there’s hope | Roegner

It is the middle of winter and it’s too cold for anyone… Continue reading