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Fall Gardening Frustrations & Solutions

Written by Ann Meisoll

Fall is typically an easy time to garden. The weather is cooler, we’ve hopefully had some rain, and maybe, just maybe, you have a little extra free time to enjoy it all! There are some questions that we get asked year after year, always during the fall. These are some of the most common issues people have, along with our solutions.


1. Why do my fall vegetable crops have all these holes in them? What’s eating them? Vegetable damage this time of year can usually be blamed on cabbage loopers, hornworms, and other caterpillars. Bacillus thuringiensis (also known as Bt, Dipel or thuricide) is a biological control that will take care of most chewing kinds of caterpillars.

2. When should I reseed my lawn?  Now is an excellent time! Typically you can seed through the end of October in the Richmond area. We also recommend two feedings: one when you reseed and again before the end of November.

3. When is the best time to plant trees & shrubs?  Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, ground covers and perennials. Plants have plenty of time to establish root systems before it gets cold. Be sure to use Espoma Bio-tone when you plant, and keep everything watered.

Strange's Mums

4. How long will my mums bloom for?   Mums have good color for about a month or so. Pansies will last all fall and into the winter. There are other plants like ornamental cabbages and kale, and snapdragons that will give you some color up until frost.

5. I have mushrooms in my grass/landscape beds. How do I get rid of them?  There is no easy answer to this. Mushrooms are a fungal growth. They tend to sprout wherever you have decaying matter, whether in the bark in a mulch bed, a rotten tree stump, or in the thatch in your lawn. There is no spray, no powder, no magic potion to get rid of them. The weather has been perfect for them the last few weeks as well: cooler, wet, less humid. All you can do is dig or pull them out, but they’ll most likely come back.

flower bulb

6. What bulbs can I plant now?  Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and a host of other bulbs can be planted from now until about the middle of November. They will bloom next spring. Use Espoma Bulb-tone when you plant, for strong beautiful blooms. If squirrels are a problem, soak your bulbs in I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent for 5 minutes, let them dry and then plant. This should help repel squirrels.

7. I’m bringing my houseplants inside. Do I need to do anything to them?  Check the plants for any kind of insects. If you spot something suspicious, spray the plants with Fertilome Triple Action and apply Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules to the soil. Triple Action will kill insects on contact, and the granules will help protect the plants for up to 8 weeks. Now is a good time to re-pot them if needed.


8. Can I prune my azaleas now?  NO!!!! If you want blooms next year, do not prune your azaleas/rhododendron/spring-blooming camellias (or anything else that blooms in the spring) in the fall. Evergreens should be pruned during the latter part of winter. You can prune anything that is dead, damaged or diseased at any time.

If you have any gardening questions, feel free to contact us! You can call us at 804-360-2800, or email us at

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