Fall is a great time of year to plant, and an equally good time to take care of your lawn. With a little bit of maintenance this fall, you’ll have a green, lush lawn come spring.

raking leaves off a lawn in the fall


Encap lime for lawn health

For established lawns, it’s important to use lime to help raise the pH of the soil. With all our winter rain here in the PNW, it tends to wash the soil of necessary nutrients. We also recommend fertilizing with Scott’s® Winterquard or Espoma’s® Organic Lawn Fertilizer.

The next thing you are going to want to do is aerate your lawn. This allows both moisture and fertilizer to reach the lawn root bed. Fill the holes with Al’s® Compost or Gypsum, this will allow the soil to drain properly.

Next you’re going to want to reseed your lawn. We recommend fertilizing and adding lime first. It’s important to scratch the lawn surface first with a rake, this agitates the existing lawn making it ready for new seed. Using a spreader is the best way to apply seed, that way it’s nice and even. Then lightly cover the seed with Al’s® compost.

Finally you’ll want to “water in” all your hard work by gently misting the area, watching to ensure that the water does not puddle in any areas.

a green healthy new lawn



When you are adding a new lawn, the following steps will ensure that you have a luscious green lawn in no time. Start by considering your seed selection and whether your lawn will be in the sun, or in the shade, or a combination of the two. There are drought tolerant seed choices, but you’ll always want to use a good quality of lawn seed to prevent ryegrass and other non desirable grasses. Start by considering your watering strategy, and installing that first.

You’ll next want to rototill your soil to a depth of 4” – 6”.

IF you have clay soil, add at least 2” of Al’s® compost as well as lime, per the instructions on the bag.

Next you’ll want to level your soil with a landscape rake, and roll your soil to create a firm seed bed.

Add 16-16-16 fertilizer now, and finally your base of good aerated, fertilized soil is ready for seeding!

Spread your seed evenly, and roll again. This will help the lawn seed to be pressed into the soil, and make it less susceptible to washing away.

Finally, you’ll want to lightly cover with Al’s® compost and keep damp by gently “watering in” your new lawn.

a dandelion ween in grass


Now this wouldn’t be an article on lawn care, without a healthy conversation about weeds. There are many types of weeds including grasses and broadleaf plants like dandelions, cover, spurge and chickweed. We recommend controlling the spread of weeds by using Bayer ® Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer. Also Weed B Gon® is also a great product.

So, whether it’s a game of flag football or Frisbee, your lawn will be all ready for the fun fall times ahead.

Any good gardener knows that fall is the best time for planting. It allows the roots to mature prior to getting chilly, making your plant that much stronger come spring.

a trowel in dirt with fall bulbs

Planting in the fall is an advantage because the soil is still warm, which encourages root development. The cooler evenings and cooler autumn days will slow down the loss of moisture. New plantings won’t dry out as quickly, as in the intense sun of spring and summer. The moisture that is available provides slow growing roots with plenty of water. When you plant in the fall you’re establishing those roots, so they will be less prone to damage, and more ready for their spring surge of top growth.

Fall & Winter Veggies

beets being pulled from the garden
  • An excellent solution for keeping the tilth and fertility of your garden’s soil at peak levels.
  • PNW winters are usually not severe enough to damage carefully mulched winter vegetables.
  • The key is knowing the average date of the first killing frost in your region. (Late October) Then plant your winter crops early enough (usually August) to let them reach their full maturity before that killing frost.

Early Maturing Crops

  • Rootcrops – beets, radish, carrot
  • Leafcrops – lettuce, kale


Fertilizing a lawn with a spreader

Fall is the best time of year for reseeding and refertilizing your lawn. Fall is best because the soil temperatures are warmer. They have had all summer to heat up, and this along with our frequent rains helps the seeds germinate quickly. The faster the seed germinates, the lawn becomes more established, and the less competition it has with weeds. The cool air temperatures also allow the young lawn to grown strong without the threat of the heat stress.


  • One fall application with either a synthetic (Scott’s® Turf Builder) or organic (Espoma® Lawn Fertilizer)
  • The nutrients will change into carbohydrates which improve the root system in your lawn.
  • Like with the other fall plantings promoting root growth in the fall will help create a stronger healthier lawn for the next year.
  • Fall and winter fertilizers are formulated to feed your lawn without causing a lot of blade growth.
  • If moss is a problem, make sure to use a fertilizer with moss control. (Scott’s ® Turf Builder).

Air it Out

  • Aeration is one simple thing you can do for you lawn each year to help it grow lush.
  • Removes compaction of soil
  • Allows for better water percolation
  • Allows fertilizers to reach root zone
  • Plugs allow microbes to decompose thatch

Control Weeds

  • Broadleaf weeds like clover and dandelions are in the same mode as your lawn, developing roots.
  • Spray when temps are in the mi-50s or warmer
  • Bayer® Advanced All-In-One Weed Killer for lawns or Ortho® Products


  • Mowing the lawn shorter in the fall encourages rhizome development which will thicken the lawn and help choke out weeds…also allows more light, preventing moss.
  • Begin September and continue through October.
  • Gradually reduce the height so as not to stress out your lawn when the temps become cooler.

Over Seed It

  • Weed invasions, and not enough sunlight will cause your lawn to thin out in areas.
  • Simply spread seed over your existing lawn, after de-thatching & “roughing up” the surface.
  • Lightly sprinkle some fresh grass seed over the area and cover with a thin layer of compost, fine potting soil, or coconut coir.
  • Make sure to use the appropriate seed for the sun exposure in that area.
  • It’s a good idea to lightly over seed your entire lawn to keep it looking uniform.
  • Should be done at a rate of 3.5-5 pounds per 100 sq ft.


yellow daffodils in spring bloom

We often don’t think of bulbs until we see them blooming in the spring, but to get those beautiful flowers we need to do little work in the fall. Research the best time to plant depending on region. Planting is simple, and can be layered in the soil of a container with other annuals on top!

  • Dig a hole 3-4 times deeper than the bulb height
  • Set bulbs firmly in place, following spacing guidelines
  • Sprinkle in a fertilizer made for bulbs such as Espoma® Bulb Tone
  • Cover with soil
  • Water thoroughly

So, if it’s a beautiful spring garden you are working towards, make sure to spend time in your garden now for the best results.

For today's containers, the small deciduous tree Clerodendrum trichotomum, more commonly known as the Harlequin Glorybower, has real impact! And right now the weather is perfect for planting.

The foliage and white blooms of a harlequin glorybower

Both flower and fruit are exceptionally beautiful. The dark green leaves are oval, five inches long and covered with a soft fuzz. In the full sun of late summer, the tree bears beautiful clusters of white, tubular flowers offering late summer and early fall interest to your garden.

Did you know?

If you crush the leaves, the Cleodendrum smells like peanut butter, so some people call it the Peanut Butter Tree!

But there is even more than bloom and fragrance to this small tree since in late summer there are stunning fruits. Both flowers and fruits can be found on the plant at the same time.

Harlequin Glorybower prefers full sun and moist well drained soil. It grows 15 to 20 feet tall, so is perfect size for today’s smaller gardens and ideal for containers.

Grace your porch with this beauty, and have everyone on the block wondering what she is!

If you happened to have missed our Fall Fashion show at the recent Al’s Neighborhood Block Party, rest easy because we’ve got you covered.

I have pulled together the key trends for fall, so you’ll look your best.

Day to Night

Pieces that are versatile for every day, or can be dressed up for evening.

Pair the Habitat® mixed convertible cardigan with the Habitat® stretch seamed pant. The cardigan with its waterfall collar detail is perfectly in style this season. You can wear the light weight cardigan to work—OR – over a little black dress for a special occasion.

This dolman sleeved, faux suede jacket in the color Shadow was the hit of the show. You can wear it now, and layer it over a turtleneck when the weather turns colder. The texture of faux suede is what makes it glamorous for evening.

Plaid is a huge trend for fall, and the Habitat® plaid crinkle cotton shirt has a flattering A-line cut with a wedge back detail. So you look as good as you walking away, as you do coming! For a more dressed up evening feel, just change your shoes and add glam accessories.

The New Boho

It's the laid back vibe that’s grown up. Rich fabrics and unique details lend to polished, sophisticated pieces you’ll want to add to your wardrobe.

As long as you have a touch of fur, you are all ready for fall. This boho inspired print blouse with its tassel neck detail, looks great under the faux leather vest with fur and zipper detail.

Luxe Eclectic

Embrace mixed prints, fun details and luxe fabrics and add to your fall list of must haves.

The laser-cut detail on this jacket gives it a unique feel and the buttery suede completes this luxe look.

Shades of Plum

This rich, vibrant color will add a pop of color to your basics. Whether you wear a lighter shade for that feminine feel, or a deep darker shade for a rich romantic feel, shades of plum are “in” for fall.

The mixed fabric sweater from Prana® has a sweater knit front panel with fleece sleeves and body. Layered underneath is a plaid maxi top which is a great example of mixing shades of plum to craft a look that makes a statement.

This suede fringe jacket from Tribal® adds a fun, flirty feel to the outfit. Layered underneath is a ¾ sleeve scoop printed top with sequin detail. This lighter shade of plum in this shirt adds a feminine touch to this outfit.

So, if you are eager to jump into fall fashion, join at Al’s of Sherwood and Woodburn. We’ve got the key pieces for your wardrobe and all the accessories, jewelry and handbags to pull it all together.

Now that you've got your fall containers all done with Our Fall Collection, let's get to decorating for all those fabulous fall events coming up!

an array of autumn decor available at Al's

Whether it's dinner with friends, or the whole crew over after the football game, we've got some perfect ideas for your home

fall themed door wreaths

Autumn Wreaths

The quickest and easiest way to bring fall into your home is by adding a wreath to your front door. Add some corn stalks, straw bales, pumpkins and some beautiful fall-inspired mums, and you've got yourself a front porch the neighborhood will enjoy.

Hot SkwashImage courtesy of Hot Skwash.

Hot Skwash

These adorable Hot Skwash pumpkins combine luxe silk velvet with natural stems. Some are even adorned with incredible feathers and jewels! They are definitely a collectible table-top decor that you'll want to own - especially since they are made right here in Portland thanks to a partnership with local farmers.

Learn more at hotskwash.com

a rustic autumn sign

Signs of the Season

When all else fails you can always say it with a sign. These cute block letters are perfect for your window sill or mantel display. These seasonal signs help us give thanks and remember we are blessed with family and friends.