Gardening This Weekend: October 10, 2019
Finally those crazy hot days are gone and better, cooler gardening conditions are here. Let’s outline some things you’ll want to get done very soon.
• 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.
• Dig and divide spring-blooming perennials: iris, daylilies, thrift, violets, Shasta daisies, gloriosa daisies, purple coneflowers and others.
• Pansies and their sisters violas. Other winter-hardy color plants include pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale and snapdragons.
• Grass by mowing at regular height up to first frost. Use mowing to remove fallen leaves so they can be put into the compost or raked out beneath shrubs as mulch.
• Perennial gardens to remove spent flowers, seed stalks and foliage.
• Erratic growth from shrubs, but save major reshaping for later this winter.
• Newly planted winter color annuals with high-nitrogen plant food in water-soluble form. This will give the new plants a quick start.
• 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.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• 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.
• 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. See my recent e-gardens story on stinging caterpillars. Here is a link.
• Brown patch in St. Augustine. It shows up once we’ve had temperatures into the 50s and 60s and especially after fall rains. Look for round patches of yellowing blades. Those patches will usually be 18 to 24 inches across and the blades will pull loose easily from the runners. You’ll be able to see the decaying leaf tissues at the bases of the blades. Apply a fungicide labeled for turf diseases. Water only in the early morning hours, not at night, to lessen the chance of the disease.