It has been a hot summer but that is all about to end. Well, maybe it will end in a month or two. You and I may not like it outdoors in the hot weather but most of your tropical plants love it. These are often the plants you have growing in containers that now need an end of summer check-up.
First see how well they have filled their containers with roots. You may be surprised to find roots growing out the bottom of the containers. This means it's time to step them up to a size larger or bigger container to make a little growth before the cooler weather arrives.
Some of these plants may also need a little trimming. They do tend to grow out of bounds and some may be quite dense with foliage. Also remove old flower heads and declining leaves.
Lastly, look for pests. Remember many of these plants were brought outdoors for the summer and may be going back inside. You don't want to take the pests back inside with you - do you? Often a little soapy water is all that is needed to wash the leaves clean. This removes pests and dirt too. If you need another insecticide try one of the natural horticultural oil and insecticidal soap products now available at your local garden center. Just follow the label instructions.
- A new gardening season has begun; 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.
- Tomato, pepper and eggplant need to be the first crops planted.
- Keep new transplants and seeded areas moist to ensure growth.
- Apply a first feeding 2 weeks after planting or seed growth.
- 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 the thick roots at the base of the plants.
- Provide trellises for tomatoes, cucumbers and similar growing crops.
- Start seedlings of fall cool season crops later in the month.
- Caterpillars often feed on late summer plantings; hand pick or control with natural sprays.
- 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 had a tough summer; start to patch damaged sections.
- Fungal problems were common this summer; control with a lawn fungicide as needed.
- 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.
- Lawn feedings begin in early September in North Florida; end of the month everywhere else.
- Add new sod or plugs to summer damaged lawns.
- Moths cause no lawn damage but start looking for sod webworms and treat as needed.
- 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.
- Complete seeding of bahia turf in early September.
- Begin fall weed control treatments at the end of the month.
- Many landscapes are overgrown; start end of summer pruning early.
- Landscapes have filled with weeds; make removal a Labor Day project
- Ants are living in many container plantings; treat with an insecticide labeled for this use.
- Check container plantings for plugged drainage holes; repot as needed.
- Trim out of bounds shrubs and trees.
- Edge walkways and beds to give landscape a fresh look.
- Remove declining annuals and continue with warm season flowers.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prune declining fronds and flower stems from palms but leave the green.
- 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.
- Gradually reduce feedings and waterings of Christmas and holiday cactus for fall.
- Decide which plants to bring indoors for the cooler months.
- Perform a final pruning and check for pests on foliage plants to eventually move indoors.
- 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.
- Remove dust and pests with soapy water.
- Make cuttings to increase the foliage plant collection.
- Replace declining plants for fall.
September 2018 Plantings
Flowers: Ageratum, angelonia, begonia, blue daze, butterfly weed, cat's whiskers, celosia,
ceome, 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