September: To Do in the Garden

by Gary Crispell, EMG

Well, here it is … September! Some of y’all have been waiting for this since last October. For many, it is the beginning of your favorite time of the year—warm days, cool nights, lower humidity, winding down the summer garden … hurricanes. Enough contemplation! There is still much gardening to do this month. Let’s get to it.

Fertilizing
With the exceptions noted under “Lawn Care,” you can take your fertilizer and stick it in an air tight container and put it away until Spring.

Pruning
NOPE!  Fuggeddaboutit. If you must exercise your pruning tools go remove underbrush or unwanted saplings or something. Stay away from your landscape plants.

Spraying
Stuff to look for and where to look for it:  Wooly adelgid on Hemlock, spider mites on other coniferous evergreens, lace bugs on Azalea and Pyracantha and tea scale on Euonymus and Camellia.

A note about Lace Bugs. They will be active all year anytime the leaf surfaces are warm enough (e.g. about 40 degrees). Being diligent now will help keep them at bay after you have cleaned and put away your sprayer. Also, Azaleas planted in sunny places will have more lace bug issues than those planted in shade.

Spray Peach trees and Nectarine trees for Peach Tree Borers.

Maintain your rose program.

Be watchful in your Fall garden. Many insects and diseases are more active in the Autumn; They like this weather, too.

Weeds to be controlled this month:  Trumpet Creeper, Bermuda Grass and Blackberry.

Only spray if necessary.  Spray as little as possible. ALWAYS READ THE LABLE!

Lawn Care
September is the best time to seed and/or reseed a Tall Fescue lawn. Loosen the soil in bare areas and cover any areas larger than one square foot with wheat straw.

Apply lime and fertilizer as recommended on your FREE SOIL TEST.

Do not fertilize warm season grasses (e.g. Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia). Fertilizing them now is like giving sugar to your kids at bedtime. They get real active much to their (and your) detriment.

If you missed the August window to treat your lawn for grubs, it is still open until the middle of September.  After that the little buggers quit feeding and go to sleep for the winter.

Propagation
You may dig and divide spring flowering bulbs now. Daffodils will be especially appreciative of this activity and will show it in the Spring.

Other Stuff to Keep You Outdoors on Gorgeous Autumn Days
Mulch shrub and flower beds.

Clean up and put away sprayers and other gardening equipment that won’t be used again until Spring.

Get your houseplants ready to come back inside. Break it to them gently by bringing them in for a little while each day. Be sure to rid them of insect pests before they come in for good.

If you do not have a fall garden, (What do you mean you don’t have a fall garden?!?) then it is time to chop, burn or toss dead vegetable plants. Burn or toss, especially if they had disease or insect issues.

Checkout the local garden center for spring flowering bulbs you can’t live without (or just covet a whole lot).  October and November will be the time to plant them. You know, “Shop early for the best selection.”

Find a good trail and take a hike. Take your kids or grandkids to the park. Read a book on the deck or patio. Get out of the house with any excuse you can come up with.

See ya’ in October for leaf season.

Give Your Lawn Love in February

Give Your Lawn Some Love

If you have a fescue or other cool season lawn**, February is the time to give it some love in the form of fertilizer. Turfgrass experts at NC State University recommend applying 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn. If you have the results of a recent soil test, use those recommendations instead.

10-10-10-web

The following example calculations from Turffiles.ncsu.edu demonstrate how to use the label on your bag of fertilizer:

To determine the amount of product required to apply 1 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, divide 100 by the first number on the fertilizer bag.

Example 1:

A 16-4-8 fertilizer. Dividing 100 by 16 = 6.25 (100/16 = 6.25) pounds of product applied per thousand square feet to deliver 1 pound of nitrogen.

Example 2:\

A 10-10-10 fertilizer. Dividing 100 by 10 = 10 (100/10 = 10) pounds of product to be applied per thousand square feet to deliver 1 pound of nitrogen.

Cool season lawns should be fertilized on or around three holidays – Valentine’s Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. Do not fertilize tall fescue after March 15.

If your lawn has an abundance of annual weeds such as chickweed or henbit, an herbicide labeled for controlling these weeds in fescue can be applied as well. A weed and feed product can be used prior to March 15. After this date, herbicides without fertilizer should be used if weed control is needed.

If you have a warm season lawn, do NOT fertilize this month. Fertilizing can begin once the lawn turns green.

** Not sure what “cool season” and “warm season” mean? Cool season grasses grow best in temperatures between 65 – 80 degrees F (spring and fall in NC). Examples of these are the fescues, perennial ryegrass, and bluegrass. Cool season lawns stay fairly green during our winters. Warm season grasses, like zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, carpetgrass, and St. Augustine grass grow best in our summer temperatures between 75 – 90 degrees F. These grasses turn brown when dormant in winter.

-Ann Barnes