Timely Tips: September 2014

clock_LGWe still have three great gardening months ahead of us, so there’s ample time to enjoy the rest of this growing season. We also have important tasks that really need to be done over the next four weeks.

Plant: Finish wildflower seedings this month. Plant them into tilled soil, away from competition of turfgrasses. Use acid-treated bluebonnet seeds for best germination. Keep the planting bed moist until the seedlings have begun growing strongly. Plant container-grown nursery stock. Transplant daylilies, iris, oxalis, jonquils, Shasta daisies and other spring-flowering perennials after temperatures start to fall. You must lay St. Augustine sod by mid-month, to allow it time for deep root growth before first freeze. If you’re seeding bermuda, it must be done by mid-September for the same reason. Bermuda sod can be planted later in month if needed. Fescue seed for permanent turf in Northwest Texas, but only in areas receiving at least four hours of direct sunlight daily. Fescue struggles in hot, humid areas of Texas. Overseed warm-season turf with perennial rye early to mid-month for green grass this winter. It is not truly perennial in Texas. And contrary to what some may tell you, if you’re willing to sow the rye and take your chances of fall and winter rains helping it develop, overseeding does not need to use any extra water beyond what you would be putting on your lawn anyway.

Prune: Clean up perennial beds by removing spent flowers, seed heads and old foliage now. If you have large surface roots that are putting a foundation or driveway at risk, you can remove two or three of the worst of them later this month. With moisture needs diminishing as temperatures fall, your trees can better cope with the loss. Root-prune trees and shrubs you intend to move this winter, also wisterias that have failed to bloom normally in past springs. The root-pruning will stimulate new roots within what will be the soil ball when you move the trees and shrubs. It will likely shock the wisteria into reproductive growth.

Fertilize: This is the most critical month for feeding Texas lawns and landscapes. You’ll gain a burst of fall growth, but you’ll also strengthen the plants for the winter. Apply a high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer, then water deeply. You may also want to use an iron/sulfur soil additive to solve yellowing from iron deficiencies. Keep it off surfaces that could be stained.

On the Lookout: Apply a pre-emergent herbicide such as Halts or Dimension the first week of September to prevent winter grassy weeds such as annual bluegrass, rescuegrass and rye. (Don’t use if you’re over-seeding your turf). Gallery products prevent annual broadleafed weeds. Both of these pre-emergents must be applied before the weeds actually sprout and start growing. Brown patch will cause rounded 18- to 24-inch areas of St. Augustine to turn yellow, then brown. If the blades pull loose very easily in your hands, that’s probably brown patch. Watch for it when temperatures start to fall into the low 60s at night, especially when there has been rainfall. Treat the entire lawn to keep it from spreading.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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