Archive | May 2014


LAWN SEEDING – September is the optimum time to start seeding and renovating fescue lawns. Fertilize lawns in September, November, and February for good root growth. Turf-type fescues varieties have finer textures than K-31, are more shade tolerant and make a dense green turf. Use a slow-release lawn fertilizer in hot weather, and a seed starter fertilizer when seeding a new lawn. Liming is a must for a good lawn.

AUTUMN COLOR IDEAS – Ginkgo trees (Maidenhair trees) are becoming an important source of brilliant yellow color. Among other good choices for foliage color from trees are: Sweet Gum, Red Maple, Southern Sugar Maple Japanese Maple, Sourwood, Crepe Myrtle, and chrysanthemums, contribute much to the colorful autumn scene. As autumn merges into winter, you’ll want to accent the landscape scene with berry color from such plants as pyracantha, nandina, viburnum, beautyberry, and many of the holly group. The ever-popular shade-loving aucuba has a dwarf form which appears to be more reliable regarding berry production. Don’t forget the brilliant red foliage of the burning bush (euonymous alata) or rabbiteye blueberries.

BULB PLANTING – If you are planning spring color from bulbs, now’s the time to order for late October and November plantings. For best landscape effect, plant groups of bulbs in between shrubs, or scatter bulbs in wooded areas to naturalize them; avoid planting in straight lines. Use a bulb fertilizer.

FRUIT TREES – Many well planned landscapes include fruit trees as seasonal accents to the front or side yard. A flowering pear, peach, apple, crabapple, or cherry is every bit as showy as a flowering dogwood in the spring.

GARDEN COMPOST – Of continuing importance is the gardening practice of composting leaves and other garden refuse. Never burn or throw them away. Grinders, compost hasteners, fertilizers, and lime all help to decompose the compost pile – making it available for garden use next spring,

CONTROLLING BLUEGRASS AND CHICKWEED is made simple by using pre-emergent herbicides applied in mid-September in the lawn and shrub plantings.

OVERSEED WARM SEASON GRASSES with rye grass in late September.

PLANT PANSIES and flowering kale/cabbage for fall color.

LATE IN MONTH divide peonies. Cover their buds with 2 Inches of soil, then mulch.

CONTINUE spraying roses.

COLLECT DRY SEED PODS, unusual leaves, rose hips, etc. for dry arrangements. Air dry those materials in a cool, dark location.

TREAT LAWNS FOR GRUBS. More than 5 grubs per square foot indicates a serious problem. Fall applications are preferred to spring treatments,


TIME TO PLANT EVERGREEN TREES AND SHRUBS Fall is a good time to plant and transplant evergreen trees and shrubs. This transplant season extends through the winter months. In selecting evergreens, be certain to allow space for maturity. A common mistake is in placing a large or fast growing evergreen in a position where there is not enough room for full height and spread.

PUTTING THE GARDEN TO BED FOR THE WINTER – Prevent many of next year’s insect and disease problems by thoroughly cleaning debris out of the garden. Pull out all annuals that have completed their life cycle. Cut away all tops of perennials. Remove debris from beneath all plants including shrubs. Get your soil tested. A nematode assay may be useful to vegetable gardeners.

ROOT CUTTINGS Most flowering shrubs can be propagated by means of hardwood cuttings. Make cuttings of mature wood 6 – 8 inches long. Dip basal ends in a rooting hormone. Set them in well amended garden soil, leaving about 2 inches above ground. Or, place cuttings in large nursery cans. Keep cuttings moist till rooted.

FLOWERING QUINCE (Japanese quince) bears fruit which can be made into preserves. Pyracantha and eleaegnus are also edible.

PRUNING – It is always the right time to prune out deadwood or diseased wood from shrubs, roses, shade trees. To insure quick healing, never cut beyond the bark ridge.

BEARDED IRIS – For success, have good drainage, good soil, sunshine, clean cultivation (weed and grass free) and frequent resetting for larger and finer blooms.

STORING BULBS – Five common flower garden plants – dahlia, canna, caladium, gladiolus, and tuberous begonia – may not overwinter – so to save the plants, dig roots, tubers, or corms of these about the time of our first killing frost. They may be dug just after foliage dries. Dig deep enough so that part of the plant will not be snapped off when lifted out of the soil. Leave soil around dahlia tubers, canna, and caladium roots.

Store in a garage or other building until soil dries and falls away from plant parts. Shake soil off roots and tubers, and cut away dried stem. Discard immediately any plant parts that show soft spots or disease.

Place tubers and roots in old sawdust or peat moss – in a flat box or plastic bag with holes for ventilation. Store in a dry, cool place such as a basement. Do not store on back parch or in garage. These plants cannot withstand freezing. Also, store away horn danger of being eaten by rats, squirrels, etc.

HOUSEPLANTS – Bring houseplants indoors when temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. Give them a good bath in soapy water or spray with Safer soap. Bring herb pots indoors.

SET POINSETTIA in a dark place for blooms by Christmas.

HARVEST SUNFLOWERS when back of heads are yellow. Leave a foot of stem on each head and hang to dry in a bird-insect free spot.

SOW SEEDS OF hardy annuals (larkspur, poppy, Drummon phlox, cornflower, etc.) where they are to bloom.

OCTOBER IS A PERFECT MONTH to get construction done. Build walks, arbors, terraces, and fencing during the fine Indian summer weather.

CONSIDER COMPOSTING YOUR LEAVES for your garden. (See April for compost bin diagram)