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Growing into Fall
The crisp air and presence of pumpkin spice lattes means only one thing; summer is officially over and fall is on it's way. Say goodbye to the days of lounging by the pool, eating sweet watermelon and barbecues every weekend. But just because summer is gone, doesn't mean we have to say goodbye to all of our favorite things! In fact, most people don't know that now is the perfect time to get out and work on your lawn and garden! Here are four things to do this fall for your yard:
Plant new trees and shrubs:
Now is the best time to get those new plants in the ground! Cooler weather and still-warm soil are ideal conditions for root development in most plants and trees. They have the fall and the following spring to establish themselves before the harsh conditions of summer. This is why the majority of Chesapeake Bay Trust grantees host their plantings in the fall. Check out a list of native plants and shrubs for your area through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website.
Replenish your vegetable garden:
It may be too late for tomatoes, corn and peppers, but there are a whole host of vegetables that you can plant for the fall! Beets, radishes, carrots, leafy greens, cauliflower, and broccoli are all great fall garden vegetables. Check with your local garden center about the best time to plant before the first frost in your area.
Now that your warm weather plants are starting to fade, it is the perfect time to start a compost! Use the remains of the dead plants, lawn clippings and all of the leaves you will have falling on you yard as compost. Make sure you use a secure and animal proof bin (available at local hardware stores). You can even add kitchen scraps and coffee grounds. By next summer, you will have great nutrients for your garden.
Lawn Care:
Now is the time, especially in the mid-Atlantic region, to aerate an  d (if you must) fertilize your lawn. Fertilizing in the fall is much safer for your local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay than the spring, since there isn't as much rain. Always make sure to follow the instructions on your fertilizer bag as to not over fertilize. However, decreasing the amount of grass on your property by planting more plants will reduce the need to fertilize your lawn, and save you time and money. To learn more about adding plants to your lawn, visit Plant More Plants.
Tell us, what do you do in the fall for your garden and lawn?

Kristin Foringer is the communications and development manager with the Chesapeake Bay Trust. she can be reached at 410-974-2941, ext. 113.