LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL GARDENING TIPS:
- Watering chores are what will eat up your garden time this month. Remember the basics; water early in the morning. Water the soil, not the leaves. Water deeply and occasionally shallow and often. When running the sprinkler, set out a pan so you can gauge just how much you’re applying.
- If mature plants are flopping, tie them up or use plant supports or stakes (criss-cross like an X with ends inserted in the soil) to keep them upright and to prevent smothering neighboring plants. If an annual is struggling, at this point, just pull it up and pitch it.
- If a perennial is sickly or looking otherwise awful, cut it back to just a few inches. It will come back this year or next spring with healthier growth.
- If whitefly is a problem, spray the affected plants for several mornings in a row to reduce the problem.
- If your lawn is turning brown, that’s because it’s gone dormant. You have two choices: Allow it to continue in its dormancy by not watering, or bring it out of dormancy with good, regular waterings. Don’t bring it out of dormancy repeatedly though, it is very stressful on your grass.
- Continue to mow your lawn high (3 inches) regularly, your best defense against weeds.
- Early fall is an excellent time to plant perennials, container trees and shrubs, and roses. This month however, it can still be hot. Do the planting on a cool, overcast, or rainy day to prevent heat stress.
- Halt fertilizing of roses and perennials. It will only encourage tender new growth that will get zapped this winter.
- Although this time of year it’s tempting to forget about weeding, keep up with it! There’s an old saying: One year’s seeding means seven year’s weeding.
- Even now, keep dead-heading! You’ll have more flowers longer, not to mention a nicer-looking garden.
- Throwing a sheet of non-plastic material will help guard your plants/vegetables from harsh winter frost.
- It’s time for birds to establish their food sources. If you haven’t already, put out your bird feeding equipment.
- October is the ideal month for planting spring-blooming bulbs. These include tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. You can plant them through November too, just as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
- Weed perennial and shrub beds and add more mulch (but never more than 3 inches). The mulch will prevent erosion during fall rains.
- Leaves, leaves and more leaves! Composting is a fantastic way for dealing with them; it’s low cost, doesn’t smell or attract animals and it improves your soil beautifully! Just remember to cover with a tarp to prevent too much moisture.
**The most important time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall to help your lawn develop a strong root system. Do this after a couple rains when it starts turning green again, or if your lawn has been watered regularly all summer… proceed at will. Now the lawn is ready to grow again, and is looking for the nutrients it needs to recover from summer damage.
- Go green and help it stay green! Organic fertilizers are easily bio-degradable and hence do not cause environmental pollution. On the other hand, chemical fertilizers contaminate land and water which is a cause of diseases for human beings and extinction of a number of plant, animal and insect species.