· Cool season grasses can be planted through the middle of the month. Fall is the best time to plant ryegrass, bluegrass or fescue. Planted by way of seed, these grasses are good for shade areas. Remember they do require mowing through spring.
· Use this month to choose your spring bulbs as you will want to do this as soon as possible. Look for bulbs that are firm and free of disease. Wait to plant until Thanksgiving time. (see article on bulbs for tips on selection and planting)
· September brought time for the last fertilization of the fall whether you used a nitrogen fertilizer or an organic one like Sustane. Do not fertilize any more this season.
· Pre-emergent can also be put down to deter fall weeds like dandelion, henbit and that pesky weed with the little purple flowers on them that we seem to have an abundance of in our neighborhood. In fact, this little weed called a “Bushy Aster” has over run a number of yards. This Aster needs to be treated NOW with a broad leaf weed killer because they are putting down seed for spring. (For more on this pesky weed see the article on Bushy Aster)
· Organic pre-emergent can also be put down this month for those weeds winterizing themselves for spring. I use horticulture corn gluten meal twice a year with great success. It is non toxic to mammals, birds and children and does not harm the microorganisms in the soil as chemicals do. Remember your soil is alive and healthy soil promotes healthy plants and grasses.
A word of caution in selecting your pre-emergent. Be sure that it is not a Weed and Seed. The reason is, it is too late in the season to fertilize. If you do fertilize this late in the season you will most likely have brown circular patches in your lawn next spring called “brown spot”.
· Dead head remaining flowering plants if you have not done so to prevent disease and an unsightly appearance.
· If you have planted Wisteria and found that It did not bloom for you earlier in the season, now is the time to trim the roots.
· Ornamental and shade trees can also be pruned at this time. Remember not to make fush cuts and do not use pruning paint.
· As the weather cools, remember to continue to water as needed. It is less expensive to water deeply and less often than to water frequently for short times unless you have a red clay and no top soil. The ideal time to water is to begin at about 4am. This prevents evaporation and moisture from laying on your flowering plants for too long as this encourages disease like powdery mildew.
The Original Red Dirt Gardener
Questions may be directed to RDG at www.reddirtgardening.com