Gardening This Weekend: October 12, 2017
With temperatures up and down and back up again, there are some really important gardening responsibilities you’ll want to address this weekend. Take a look.
• Pansies. We wait for cooler temperatures, and those were here and will be back again soon. Remember that smaller-flowering types, including violas, give the best overall display in the garden.
• Dig and divide spring-blooming perennials: iris, daylilies, thrift, violets, Shasta daisies, gloriosa daisies, purple coneflowers and others.
• Spring-flowering bulbs from nurseries. Tulips and hyacinths must be refrigerated for a minimum of 45 days at 45 degrees before planting no sooner than mid-December. They need that artificial “pre-chilling” to give them an adequate exposure to winter. Other bulbs can be planted as soon as they’re bought.
• Trees, shrubs and other woody nursery stock. Planted now they will have maximum time to establish before next summer’s heat returns.
• Perennial gardens to remove spent flowers, seed stalks and foliage.
• Erratic growth from shrubs, but save major reshaping for later this winter.
• Grass by mowing at regular height up to first frost. Use clippings to remove fallen leaves so they can be put into the compost or raked out beneath shrubs as mulch.
• Fescue and ryegrass. These cool-season turf varieties do their growing in cooler weather. Apply all-nitrogen fertilizer to them. Choose one that has half or more of its nitrogen in slow-release form. Apply at half the rate recommended on the bag for this first feeding.
• Newly planted winter color annuals with high-nitrogen plant food in water-soluble form. This will give the new plants a quick start.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Brown patch in St. Augustine. Now that we’ve had our first significant cool weather and rainfall you can expect this fungus to develop rapidly. See my story on it last week.
• Asps (puss caterpillars) and other stinging caterpillars are plentiful this fall. Watch for them as you’re cleaning up your landscape. In basic terms, it’s best not to handle any type of caterpillar. We have five or six species that can inflict painful stings.
• Apply a glyphosate herbicide to any area of turf where you intend to develop a new flower or vegetable garden or landscape bed next spring. Use one that contains no other herbicide than the glyphosate to ensure it will have no residual effects in the soil. These must be applied to active, green growth. Once vegetation has experienced first frost it will be too late.