Gardening This Weekend: October 18, 2018
Our weather took a turn toward the brisk earlier this week and that brought a sudden reminder that winter may not be too far away. Here are the things you’ll want to be checking off your to-do list in the next several days.
• Pansies, violas, snapdragons, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale. Planted now, these winter annuals will be colorful well into spring.
• Finish digging and dividing spring-flowering perennials. Once you have a freeze, their tops will die down and you’ll have a harder time working with them. (See related story this issue.)
• Take cuttings of tropicals and select annual plants you want to keep over the winter.
• Daffodils and grape hyacinths can be planted as soon as you buy them. To bloom properly, tulips and Dutch hyacinths will need artificial “chilling” for 45 or more days at 45 degrees in the refrigerator. Plant in mid-December.
• Remove dead or damaged branches from trees while you can still distinguish them from healthy limbs.
• Continue mowing lawn at recommended height. Collect and shred fallen tree leaves in the process and put them into compost or use them as mulch.
• Remove erratic growth and reshape patio pots and hanging baskets before bringing them into the house or greenhouse for winter.
• Ryegrass and fescue with high-quality lawn food. Both grow during cool weather and will utilize the nutrients efficiently.
• New annual color plants with a high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food every couple of weeks to get them off to a quick start.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Watch houseplants and patio pots for insects that need to be controlled before you bring the plants indoors for the winter. It’s far easier to treat them outdoors than it will be once they’re inside.
• Brown patch is showing up in St. Augustine turf. It causes very regular round 18- to 24-inch patches of dead leaf blades. The blades will pull loose easily from the runners. Apply labeled turf fungicide to stop further spread. The fungus doesn’t kill the grass, but it weakens it unnecessarily.
• If you have an area where you will be planting groundcover, vegetables or flowers next spring, and if you want to get rid of the existing grass, spray it now with a glyphosate-only weedkiller. Give it 10 days to kill the tops and roots of the grass and you will be able to start rototilling the soil.