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Pro Service Desk(805)614-1414
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am - 10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am - 8:00pm
Curbside: 09:00am - 6:00pm
2120 S Bradley Rd
Santa Maria, CA 93455
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The Home Depot Garden Center at Santa Maria

Fall is a different time for your lawn and garden, so get out your work gloves. The focus shifts from growing to harvesting, from upkeep to cleanup. We've got fall yard prep and fall lawn tips to help you make the most of your landscaping and garden as the season ends. We'll also guide you through planting, overwintering, and harvest. Read on for more on fall lawn and garden maintenance.

Patch or Fertilize Your Lawn
Patch up bald spots on your lawn by learning how to seed a lawn in the fall. Autumn is a great time to fill in dead, brown, or bare places in your yard. However, you should try to keep fallen leaves off freshly seeded areas. New grass seed needs water, sun, and air to grow, and leaf litter can block out the sunlight and air it needs to germinate.

If you're in a northern climate, prepare your cool-season grass for the fall with lawn fertilizer. Aerate your lawn before fertilizing to get the most bang for your buck. Water your cool-season lawn regularly and tend to any pesky fall weeds that show up. Warm-season varieties, like those in the southern states, are winding down their growth for the year. It's better not to fertilize it now, as you don't want fresh grass growing right before it goes dormant. Taper down watering on warm-season lawns.

Fall Gardening
Many colorful fall flowers are annuals, like marigolds, so they last until the end of the year, but hardier plants, like pansies and chrysanthemums, should return in the spring. Always check the plant tag for info. If you want your mums to grow back next year: it should call them chrysanthemum morifolium, garden mums, or hardy mums. If it says they're a florist or annual mum, you'll need to replant next year.

Bushes and succulents also blossom in the fall, especially if they're kept in planter pots or strongly rooted in the ground. Succulent planters allow for easier upkeep of sensitive succulents. You can customize the soil in the planters to fit these desert plants, as they need a sandy succulent soil mixture. For shrubs, look after the ones you've got or plant new ones, weather permitting. Get in new plants now, especially if you're in a warmer climate and have time before the frost and cold comes.

Cut and Cover Perennials
In climates where you might have a cold snap here and there, but then it'll warm up above freezing again, cover your plants. Protect your garden from frost and freeze damage to extend their season. You can get extra life out of your garden by covering your plants with 5-gallon buckets, tarps, or even painting drop cloths. It'll warm your plants like a greenhouse or blanket, and they'll survive a frost.

This works well early on, until you're fully into the colder parts of the season. Uncover the plants in the morning when the thermometer goes up again and let them enjoy that fall sunshine. Once the temperatures regularly dip below freezing, it's time to say goodbye to the garden for now.

Put the Garden to Bed
When the sun angle changes and your annuals start looking rougher, dig up the plants. Northern climates that get cold earlier in the fall may be putting the garden to bed for the season in October or November. After your annuals are done blooming for the year, dig them up and dispose of the dead plant debris. Feel free to let them decompose to enrich the soil unless you had one of two exceptions: if your plants dealt with disease or if you had a slug problem.

If your garden is prone to snails, you'll want to let the old plant matter decay elsewhere. Snails and slugs dine on decaying plants. Moving those plants to another location will help prevent your garden from being overrun by these creatures in the spring. Although slugs and snails are often considered garden pests, they're still part of the ecosystem, so relocate them elsewhere on your property if possible. As for the exception of your plants struggling with disease or blight, simply pack up those dead plants in the leaf and lawn bag to avoid passing any issues on to next year's crop.

After you've removed the old plants, you've got a clean slate. Prepare your garden bed for the spring by rotating the soil with a rototiller or shovel. You want to bring the deeper soil to the surface, send the topsoil lower down, and generally break up the ground. It lets the soil rest and helps nutrients penetrate. It's also an excellent opportunity to test the soil and see what, if any, soil amendments you need. Different crops and plants use different nutrients. Test your soil to see if it's balanced or if you need to restore certain nutrients that have been depleted.

Indoor Gardening
Gardeners with potted plants can extend their growing season by bringing the plants indoors to a sunny window. Indoor gardening allows both outdoor plants to live longer and indoor plants to bring joy into your home. Just turn them regularly to give all leaves equal sunlight for photosynthesis, and make sure they get enough water. Remember to place decorative dishes beneath them if the pots don't have built-in overflow dishes to catch any extra water.

Warm the Outdoors with a Patio Heater
Stretch out your fall evenings with an outdoor fireplace, patio heater, or fire pit to take off the chill. No matter if you're looking for outdoor heaters for decks, small patios, or cozy porches, we've got options. All you have to do is pick the one that matches your decor style.

When you're curious about how to build an outdoor fireplace or how to choose an outdoor fireplace, we have the supplies you need. Bricks, mortar, a wheelbarrow, trowels, and more — let us help you get this fall project done. If you'd love some extra heat but rather not install a fire pit or fireplace, we also have patio heaters, including gas, propane, and electric models.

Ease Into Fall
This fall, shore up your flowers and plants for the season with us. We have the tools and supplies you need for leaf cleanup, putting the garden to bed, and replenishing nutrients in your soil so it's ready for next spring. Shop our wide variety of fall garden care and outdoor living products online, in your Santa Maria store, or in our mobile app.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gardening

Are fall leaves good for my yard?

If cleaning up pinecones and leaves is overwhelming and you'd rather wait, there's an argument for that, too. Moths and caterpillars, frogs and toads, chipmunks, lizards, turtles, and other small creatures live in the habitat formed by fallen leaves. Cleaning up the leaves later in the season – or setting aside a small compost pile in a corner of the backyard – gives them a place to grow and thrive.

How do I harvest my produce when it's ripe?

To pick the fruit you grew straight from the vine or tree, you may need two hands. Push aside any leaves and pinch the stem tightly just above the fruit. Then with your other hand, twist the fruit. Keep rotating the produce, watching the stem twist, until it breaks loose from the main stem.

How do I store my garden tools for the season?

To make next spring easier, clean your garden tools before you store them. Remove clay and grime with a soak in soapy water, then dry your tools well. Next, soak them in a water and bleach mix for 20 minutes to kill off any fungus, and follow with a rinse. Then, scrub off rust specks with a wire brush, oil them with vegetable oil or WD-40 if necessary, and ensure they're dry before hanging them in a garage or shed.

How do I winterize an outdoor faucet?

Prepare your outdoor taps for freezing temperatures by draining and covering them with faucet covers. Shutting down the outdoor faucet can be put off until watering the garden or washing the car in the driveway is done for the year, but don't wait until the temps drop into the 40s. With all hoses disconnected, turn off the indoor valves that control the spigots, then open the taps and let them run until the water stops. If you have underground sprinklers or an irrigation system, drain those as well as per the manufacturer's instructions. You may need a rental air compressor to get out every last drop of water.

How early do I prep for snowfall?

In climates where it gets cold and snowy, now is the time to prepare your snow removal equipment. Snow blowers are great, but keep an ice scraper and snow shovel to clean trouble spots or chip away ice patches. Find lightweight cordless and electric snow blowers as well as gas snow blowers. Rock salt and ice melt can clear walkways with less effort and help keep you safer when you make quick trips to the car or mailbox. Shop now before the weather cools more and the snow rolls in.

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