Gardening This Weekend: September 21, 2023

Here are your prime tasks for these tailing days of September. See how many you’ll want to put on your list.

Overseed fescue turf in those northwestern parts of the state where it’s being used as a permanent turfgrass.
Seed ryegrass if you want it for winter green turf.
Mums for a fall color display, either in beds or in large patio pots. They’ll be handsome for several weeks, at which point you can trim them back and prepare them for planting as long-term perennials in beds.
Sow wildflower seeds very soon so they can become established this fall. Do not plant them where they will have to compete with turfgrass.
Trees, shrubs, and other nursery stock so the plants can become established this fall, over winter, and in spring before next summer’s really hot weather.
Order spring-flowering bulbs soon to be sure you have all the varieties you’ve been wanting.

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Weakened or dead branches from trees and large shrubs before winter. When hiring tree work, always work with a certified arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture. Ask for credentials.
Continue mowing lawn at same height as you’ve been using up until now. Raising mower does not improve winter cold hardiness.
Trim and reshape houseplants and hanging baskets before bringing them indoors or back into the greenhouse for winter.

Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer, with 30-40 percent of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Water thoroughly following feeding.
Apply same fertilizer to shrubs and groundcover beds.
Houseplants that you have on patio or beneath trees for the summer one last time before you bring them inside in a few weeks.
Summer annual flowers (begonias, impatiens, fanflowers, pentas, lantanas, periwinkles and angelonias, among others, and foliage with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food to stimulate one last round of fall growth and blooms.

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Dead areas in St. Augustine are probably due to chinch bug damage from summer, not from grub worm damage (as many seem to suspect).
Webworms are prevalent in pecans and other trees currently. Spraying is impractical. Do not try to burn them (extremely hazardous). Long-handled pole pruners are probably your best solution, or just ignore them. They will fall to the ground over the winter. The trees will be fine come spring.
Don’t be overly concerned about a few leaf spots or early leaf drop on shade trees this late in the season, especially following this challenging summer. You won’t make the spots go away with any type of spray, and odds are very high that the tree will leaf out perfectly come spring.
Holes dug into the lawn and beds at night are most likely due to armadillos. Havahart humane traps for racoons set near their tunnels and bounded with chicken wire fences to guide the pests into the traps will usually succeed in capturing them.
Beware of snakes hiding in piles of leaves and among large patio pots, stacks of potting soil and other snug spots around your house. Look closely before reaching into hidden spaces.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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