The sweet gum tree's star-shaped leaves turn a mix of colors in the fall, making it a favorite for New York landscape designer Jan Johnsen. Sometimes the same tree can have red, purple, yellow and orange leaves, at the same time.
Fall is the time to plant flowering bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, as well as perennials, trees and shrubs, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals. The warm soil is great for root development, and plants have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat.
“It’s a common misconception that just because most plants and gardens aren’t actively blooming in the fall, they don’t require maintenance during the colder months,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. “Many homeowners work hard all spring and summer to care for their yards and gardens, only to let them languish once colder weather arrives.”
Apply fertilizer to your lawn in early fall. Look for a fertilizer with a formula designed to meet your lawn's needs and follow application instructions on the product. The numbers on a fertilizer bag, in N-P-K order, indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively, on weight basis. If you aren’t sure what your lawn needs, consult with a lawn care or landscape professional. A soil test can determine what ratio is best for your lawn. Be sure to check with your local agricultural extension office, as some locations regulate the time of year that fertilizer can be applied to reduce runoff.