Gardening This Weekend: September 13, 2018
I saw my first pumpkins at a local grocery last weekend. It’s just hard to believe that fall can already be near, but it is. And that means there are critical responsibilities for gardeners. Ogle the offerings.
• Trees and shrubs. Planted now they’ll have the longest possible time to establish before next summer’s heat.
• Quick spots of color from garden mums, petunias, Mexican bush sage, celosia and other potted nursery transplants.
• Last call for planting St. Augustine sod. It can actually be risky even now because we never know when the first freeze will stop its growth and we don’t know how cold it will get in the northern parts of its region. It may not have time to become well rooted. Bermuda sod is fine to plant now, but don’t delay.
• Ryegrass for winter overseeding or temporary turf until you can plant permanent grass in spring. “Perennial” rye is much more easily maintained and finer textured, therefore more attractive. However, it also costs more if that’s a factor for a large area. Do not seed rye if you applied pre-emergent granules to an area in the past few weeks.
• Dead or damaged branches from shrubs and shade trees.
• Erratic shoots from shrubs to give them a more tidy appearance, but save major pruning for mid-winter.
• Perennial gardens to remove old stubble as plants finish blooming or begin to die back for winter.
• Iron-deficient plants (yellowed leaves with dark green veins, always most prominently displayed at ends of branches). Apply iron supplement with sulfur added. This is your last chance for this growing season. Keep iron off masonry surfaces.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to keep them growing actively in fall’s better weather.
• Lawn grasses of all types with all-nitrogen fertilizer containing high percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form. It does not have to say specifically “Winterizer” fertilizer. The same product you’ve been using the rest of the growing season will be fine if you’ve been following our recommendations here.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Yellowing blades in washes across St. Augustine turf are leftover effects of gray leaf spot fungus. It was serious this summer during the hottest weather. It causes small, diamond-shaped lesions on the leaf blades, but they’re much less visible now as its effects are abating. Avoid nitrogen fertilizers between June 15 and September 1 next year. No call to action at this time.
• Webworms in pecans, walnuts, persimmons, other trees. Sprays are inefficient. It’s usually best just to use a long-handled pole pruner to remove all you can reach. They will not do serious long-term damage to the trees. They’re just unsightly.
• Stinging caterpillars of several types on trees and shrubs. They tend to be more numerous in fall. It’s best just not to handle any caterpillars, especially those with bristles. But don’t feel like you have to spray all of them just because a few species might sting. Learn what puss caterpillars and larvae of Hagg and Io moths look like.