General landscape maintenance is on the ?To Do List? of many gardeners for September as we gradually head into fall. Have you ever seen so many weeds? Maybe it was due to all the rains. It seemed like there were more downpours than normal but some area gardeners say they are behind in rainfall for the year. Still, there are plenty of weeds.
Often the best control for weeds is pulling and hoeing. I know it is work but you cannot always get the chemical weed control products near the plants. Some can be spot treated with traditional nonselective herbicides that allow planting after use. Some can be used with establish plantings - just follow the labels carefully. Some gardeners are also using vinegar and soap containing natural herbicides. Pick the best technique for your landscape to get the weeds under control.
If you haven?t noticed, many of our favorite plants have grown out of bounds too. Trees may be getting too tall for a site and shrubs reaching over to the neighbors. There is still time to do the needed trimming but hurry. We would like to have all new growth reach maturity before the cold weather arrives. We should note a few plants have formed flower buds for winter or spring display. You might give azaleas and camellias a light grooming but not a major pruning.
Lastly don?t forget the edging of beds. Lawns are invading the flower and shrub plantings and many of the ornamentals are escaping into the turf. A good edge makes the beds look neat and ready for fall. Complete this work with a new but light mulch layer.
If you are not quite sure what else is needed in your landscape, check out my list of Gotta Do?s for more timely chores needed to keep a fall landscape attractive.
Fruit and vegetable care:
- Start your gardens with the warm season plantings.
- Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should be the first crops planted.
- Improve sandy soils with lots of organic matter.
- Clear weeds from garden sites and till compacted soils prior to planting.
- Remove plastic covers from solarization treatments and plant without tilling.
- Keep new transplants and seeded areas moist to ensure growth.
- Apply a first feeding 2 weeks after adding transplants or seed germination.
- Only allow healthy older tomato plants to grow from spring into the fall.
- Additional warm season crops need to be in the ground before early October.
- Harvest sweet potatoes when the ground swells with thick roots at the base of the plants.
- Provide trellises for tomatoes, cucumbers and similar growing crops.
- Install soaker hoses or micro-sprinklers to conserve water.
- Use mulches to conserve water, control weeds and keep soil off leafy crops.
- Add vegetables to containers for patio and balcony gardens.
- Clean containers and start with fresh potting soil each season.
- Use large containers for the taller growing crops including tomatoes.
- Start seedlings of fall cool season crops later in the month.
- Start rejuvenating herb gardens in late September and add fresh fall plantings.
- Feed vegetable gardens every three to four weeks; container gardens weekly.
- Begin citrus and avocado tree feedings toward the end of the month.
- Lawns made good growth during the summer; begin fall care at month?s end.
- Patch pest damaged or weedy areas with new sod, plugs or seed.
- Complete seeding of bahia turf in early September.
- Check local ordinances to determine when lawn feedings can begin.
- Many lawns have a hungry look; try an iron or minor nutrient product until feeding time.
- Fall lawn feedings begin in late September where permitted.
- Begin sodding lightly shady areas when drier weather returns.
- Sod webworms may still be present; treat lawns only when chewing damage is noted.
- Chinch bugs usually continue into fall; treat at first sign of turf decline.
- Fire ants are frequently found in lawns; spot treat mounds then treat the entire lawn.
- Test your soil acidity and adjust as needed.
- Dry weather can return this month; wait to irrigate turf until leaf blades start to curl.
- Water turf separately from ornamental plantings.
- Begin fall weed control treatments at the end of the month.
- Continue frequent mowings but periodically change mowing patterns.
- Weeds are out of control in many landscapes; hand pull or spot treat with herbicides.
- Plantings have made lots of growth; start end of summer pruning early.
- Edge beds and walkways to keep the landscape attractive.
- Remove declining annuals and perennials; replant with a warm season selection.
- Caladiums may start to decline this month which is normal.
- Scale insects, mealy bugs and aphids have been active; control as needed.
- Sooty mold grows on the excreta of insects; control both with a horticultural oil spray.
- Check container plantings for plugged drainage holes; repot as needed.
- Cool season flowers may arrive at garden centers; wait at least another month to plant.
- Groom perennials to remove old flower heads and out of control shoots
- Reduce root rot and similar problems at planting by adding new soil to container gardens.
- Till flower beds and add organic matter or garden soils to sandy sites.
- Consider using more long-lived perennials to reduce landscape costs.
- Chrysanthemums make attractive fall flowers but they only last a few weeks in the heat.
- Give poinsettias a final pruning in early September; continue feedings.
- Renew mulch layers with top-dressings as needed.
- Prune declining fronds and flower stems from palms but leave the green.
- Divide perennials and replant in the garden.
- Obtain northern bulbs to chill for forcing.
- Feed palms through October or use a slow release fertilizer 3 to 4 times a year.
- Begin late September shrub and perennial feedings for fall.
- Feed hanging baskets and orchids every other week.
- Remove declining leaves and flowers from water lilies; give a monthly feeding.
- Make sure indoor foliage plants are receiving adequate light.
- Flowering orchids make good indoor displays; move outdoors to the shade after flowering.
- Groom foliage plants growing outdoors to prepare them for the move indoors.
- Control pests including scale, mealybugs, thrips and mites with natural sprays.
- Gradually reduce feedings and waterings of Christmas and holiday cactus for fall.
- Decide which plants to bring indoors for the cooler months.
- Transplant foliage plants needing new containers to prepare for cooler fall weather.
- Feed foliage plants monthly or use a slow release fertilizer according to the label.
- Make cuttings to increase the foliage plant collection.
- Replace declining plants with new selections for fall.
- Obtain amaryllis and paper white narcissus bulbs for fall forcing.
Flowers: Ageratum, angelonia, begonia, blue daze, butterfly weed, cat's whiskers, celosia,
cleome, coleus, coreopsis, cosmos, garden mums, gaura, gazania, gerbera, goldenrod,
gomphrena, heliotrope, impatiens, jacobinia, lantana, marigold, melampodium, nicotiana,
pentas, periwinkle, ruellia, salvia, sunflower, sweet alyssum, torenia, verbena and zinnia
Vegetables: Early plantings include lima bean, snap bean, corn, cucumber, eggplant,
pepper, southern pea, rhubarb, squash, and tomato; End of the month crops include broccoli,
cabbage, celery, collard, endive, lettuce, mustard, onion, radish, strawberry and turnip
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, chives, coriander, dill, lemon balm, lavender, Mexican
tarragon, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet fennel, sweet marjoram and thyme.
Bulbs: African iris, agapanthus, amaryllis, blackberry lily, bulbine, calla lily, crinum,
crocosmia, day lily, gladiolus, kaffir lily, narcissus, society garlic, spider lily, rain lilies and