Gardening This Weekend: September 9, 2021
You’re going to start seeing big changes in a hurry as summer blends into early fall. Here are the things you need to address over the next several days.
• Fall perennials as they are sold in stores, including mums, fall asters, Mexican bush salvias and Mexican mint marigolds.
• Dig and divide bearded iris. Space plants 15 to 18 inches apart. If you have rhizomes left over, give them to friends or discard them. Don’t overcrowd them. Rhizomes must be shallow, barely beneath the soil’s surface.
• Shasta daisies, coneflowers, St. Joseph’s lilies, violets, daylilies and other spring perennials can also be divided in September.
• Bluebonnets and other spring wildflowers into suitable sunny locations. Buy acid-scarified bluebonnet seeds for most uniform germination. Do not plant where the wildflowers will have to compete with turf.
• Bermuda sod soon so it can get well rooted before it turns cool. I believe it’s too late to plant St. Augustine in the northern half or two-thirds of the state. We don’t know when the first freeze will come, and we don’t know how severe the winter will be. I just don’t think it’s worth the risk unless you’re fairly far south.
• Ryegrass for overseeding your lawn, also for temporary cover of bare ground. This can be delayed by a week or two if needed, but the time is at hand. (It needs to be noted that a few cities do not allow overseeding in the contention that it wastes water. I disagree strongly, as I’ve put on record in the past, but if it’s the law I don’t want you to get in trouble. Check your city’s regulations first.)
• Continue mowing at recommended height. Use mowing to keep early-falling leaves from accumulating on turf. Use clippings in compost.
• Erratic or winter-damaged branches from trees and shrubs. If you have trees that were killed by the freeze have a certified arborist do the removal. You want someone who is experienced and bonded.
• Stubble from perennial plantings to keep landscape tidy. Do not remove green foliage, however. It is critical in the plants’ storing “food” for next year.
• High-nitrogen fertilizer to fall flower and vegetable plantings to keep them vigorous as growing conditions improve.
• Turfgrass with high-quality, all-nitrogen fertilizer. Upwards of half of the nitrogen should be in slow-release form.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Remove ragweed plants from rural sites. The plants are tall and in full bloom across much of the state currently. You’ll still have allergies from the wind-borne pollen, but you’ll be doing your part to remove them in your own local environment. See story last week for more details.
• Fall webworms in pecans and other trees. See story this issue.
• If you have shrubs or trees that have lost their normal leaf color, turn the leaves over and look for small black specks. That would be excrement from lace bugs. They probably have finished their feeding for this season so there is no reason to treat now. Watch earlier next year. Affected plants include ceniza (Texas sage), pyracanthas, azaleas, boxwood, loropetalums, cotoneasters, bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, elms, sycamores, Boston ivy and many others. The plants will be fine come spring.
• Watch for roadside asters to start popping up in less-maintained parts of your yard. You’ll see dime-sized, light lavender or purplish-white, daisy-like flowers on wispy, wiry plants. Control this year’s outbreak with broadleafed weedkiller spray. Long-term control is gained with more regular feeding and watering.