Gardening This Weekend: September 29, 2022

Cooler weather makes it a whole lot more pleasant to be working outdoors. Here are your critical tasks with this weekend’s changing conditions.

Ryegrass for overseeding permanent turf, also as a temporary way of covering bare ground until you plant permanent grass in April. “Perennial” rye is the better choice for urban lots if you can find it or order it through your local retailer. It costs more but it’s finer textured and more easily maintained.
Dig and divide spring-flowering perennials such as iris, daylilies, oxalis, pinks, thrift and Louisiana phlox, Shasta daisies, coneflowers and others.
Watch for new shipments into nurseries. Plants you buy now should be nice and full. By planting them now you’ll give them 6 or 7 months to get new roots established before summer.

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Dead and drying stubble from perennial gardens to keep things tidy.
Dead and damaged branches from shade trees while you can easily distinguish them from healthy ones. Once they’re all bare, you can’t tell them apart.
Erratic shoots from shrubs, but save major reshaping for late winter.

It’s time for the final feeding for 2022. High-nitrogen fertilizer for sandy soils. All-nitrogen fertilizer for clays. In all cases, up to 30 or 40 percent of nitrogen should be in slow-release form.
Same fertilizer you apply to lawn will also benefit your trees, shrubs and groundcover beds as they store nutrients for best early spring growth.
Wait to feed newly planted and transplanted annuals and perennials until they’ve been growing a couple of weeks, then apply the same high-nitrogen food to help them get started.

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Watch patio pots, hanging baskets for insects, diseases. Deal with them outdoors, so you won’t be bringing them inside over the winter.
Watch soon for brown patch (“large patch”) development in St. Augustine turf. Grass will quickly turn yellow in 18-inch circles. Blades will pull loose easily from runners. Apply Azoxystrobin and do not water in the evenings.
If you’re seeing damage to tree and shrub leaves, and if the plants are deciduous, there is little reason to spray for any pests that may still be feeding actively. It’s too late in the growing season to be of much benefit.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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