Gardening This Weekend: September 28, 2023

With four to eight weeks to get your fall gardening things done, you need to make your plans now. Let me help you prioritize.

Nursery stock. It’s a great time for landscaping. Fall planting gives new trees and shrubs almost a full year to establish roots before next summer rolls in. Plus, nursery plants are often larger now than they will be after repotting in spring.
Ryegrass seed to overseed or for temporary cover of bare ground in winter now. Annual rye seed is less expensive, but perennial rye (more difficult to find) is easier to maintain. Both die out with the hot weather of May.
Dig and divide iris, daylilies, Shasta daisies, coneflowers and other spring-flowering perennials now. If you have extras, give them to friends, plant them into new beds or discard them. Don’t replant them into the same old spaces by overcrowding them.
Tulips and Dutch hyacinths should be bought now, but put into the refrigerator (not the freezer) for at least 45 days at 45F. Plant them in the second half of December.
Buy and plant the best quality daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, grape hyacinths and summer snowflakes. Small and early-flowering daffodils have the best chance of coming back year after year. Large, late-flowering hybrids aren’t as good. Two long-proven winners are Ice Follies and Carlton.

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Dead or damaged branches from shade trees before winter winds, ice and snow can bring them down. Many trees are still showing dead trunks and branches from the cold of February 2021. Have them taken down before they fall and do serious harm.
Perennials to remove dead stalks and seedheads.
Errant shoots from shrubs and vines. Save major reshaping for late winter, just before new growth commences in spring.

Fall vegetable gardens with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer to keep plants growing and producing in fall’s ideal weather.
Lawn, shrubs, groundcovers, and annual flowers with high-quality, all-nitrogen lawn food containing 30 to 35 percent of its nitrogen in slow-release form. This feeding is critical to the vigor of your lawn and landscape.
Continue feeding patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food to keep them growing actively. Cut back a few weeks before bringing them indoors for the winter.

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Many trees are showing leaf spots, leaf browning and leaf drop. Most of that is a result of this summer’s heat and drought. As late as it is in the season there is no reason to be concerned.
Monitor houseplants that will be coming indoors of into a greenhouse to be sure they are free of insect pests. Should any be detected, treat while they’re still outside.
If you have St. Augustine, brown patch (now being called “large patch”) is likely to be appearing within the next couple of weeks. Watch for round areas of yellowing blades, usually in 18- to 24-inch circles. Apply a labeled fungicide and discontinue evening waterings the rest of the growing season.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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