Sample Monthly E-Mail From Yardener’s Advisor
Assume these are the plants on your property
Yardener’s Advisor for September
Dear Yardener’s Advisor Subscriber:
If nighttime temperatures are regularly in the mid-50’s, bring houseplants inside, inspecting them carefully for insects.
If you have leaves and a mulching lawn mower, you may need to pick up or collect the chopped leaves and grass clippings in the beginning of the leaf fall, but in October you will want to leave a ½ inch layer of finely chopped leaves on the lawn for over the winter.
Optional - Pull up tired summer annuals and plant mums, asters, celosia and other fall plants to perk up the yard for fall.
Optional - Plant spring flower bulbs any time now
Optional - Fall is an excellent time to plant or transplant trees and shrubs. Avoid planting them too deeply.
For New Subscribers - Before we get to the tasks for the plants in your yard, we want to remind you that we have extensive data about the care of each of these plants in our web site www.yardener.com. Remember, subscribers are the only ones who can send us questions via [email protected]
Now to your plants:
Lawn Care - If you choose, you can lower the lawn mower to 2 to 2 ½ inches for the rest of the season.
The lawn now needs, until deep freeze, about one inch of water a week from you or the rain.
Patch or over-seed lawns with a mixture of cool weather grasses now, so they have lots of time to develop strong roots before the ground freezes.
Deciduous Trees In General - Optional Task –Young trees will definitely benefit from an annual application of slow-release granular fertilizer. This annual main meal should be offered until the tree is about 4 or 5 years old. After that it is optional. In most landscapes, mature trees will survive just fine without that supplement. If the tree is well mulched and/or has ground cover around its base, it needs no fertilizer. If you do choose to fertilize, then September or October are the months in which to feed trees. Sprinkle the fertilizer on the soil under each tree out to 1 1/2 times the distance from the trunk to the tips of its branches (its drip line). The general rule is two cups of slow release granular fertilizer for every inch of diameter of the trunk measured four feet above the soil surface.
Andromeda – Desirable in first few years and optional after five years - Feed Andromedas once a year. In either the fall or early spring sprinkle a handful or two of a slow-acting granular fertilizer formulated for acid loving plants on the soil at the base of each shrub. Spread it out to 1-1/2 feet beyond the tips of the branches for the rain to water into the soil.
Artemisia - Optional – Cut stems while in bud before flowers mature in early to mid-September to use for drying for flower arrangements and for wreaths and swags all winter long. Lay them in the drying sand horizontally.
Astilbe - Now is a good to time to look back at this past growing season and assess how happy your astilbe plants were throughout the year. If they did not seem to thrive, evaluate whether they are in the best place. Astilbes actually prefer to be a bog plant growing at side of pond or other damp area. In those cases they can handle a fair amount of sun. In drier locations astilbes prefer partial shade but again are more tolerant of sun if located in damp situation. In addition, astilbe do not like clay soils that are prone to drying out. Astilbe can be moved this month on in the spring.
Basil – One trick for keeping basil into the winter is to harvest a bunch now and make pesto according to whatever recipe you choose, but don’t add the cheese. Freeze the basil sauce in ice cube trays and then pop the cubes into plastic bags for use later. You then thaw on or more cubes of the paste and add the cheese and you are ready to go.
Beebalm - Beebalm is sometimes called “Osweg tea” It got this name from the revolutionary war when there was a tax on tea. They would dry Beebalm leaves and make a tea of the dried leaves instead of buying the tea from the British.
Wax Leaf Begonia – Your plants outdoors will die after the first hard frost. At that time you can remove the plants to the compost pile.
Black-Eyed Susan (Gloriosa Daisy)– In the fall when flowering is finished the stems will dry out. You have a choice. Cut them back to the soil level for the winter or leave them in place for winter interest and for feeding songbirds, especially the finches.
Optional - if the clump of Black-Eyed Susans is getting a bit large and you live south of Tennessee, you can divide that clump into smaller ones any time this month. If you live north of Tenn. then do your dividing in the spring. Usually these plants need dividing every three or four years.
Canna - Continue to clip off spent flower heads immediately to encourage more Canna blooms.
Chrysanthemum - Cut stems of newly opened flowers for indoor display in the early morning, with a clean, sharp knife.
Optional – Mums blossoms can be air dried for dried flower arrangements.
Coreopsis - Plant them as seeds or young plants from the nursery in the spring or fall. To control the spread of Coreopsis, dig up overlarge clumps and divide them every 3 or 4 years into smaller individual plants to replant and give away. To encourage reseeding, allow the last flush of flowers to remain and dry on the plant in the fall.
Crabapple – If your Crabapple Tree is less than 6 years old you can follow the advice given for trees in general at the beginning of this newsletter.
Dahlia – Deadhead Dahlias to promote heavy bloom.
Firethorn – Distinctive bright red or orange berries appear in large bunches in the fall and last into January. These berries are attractive to birds, such as starlings, which consume great numbers of them.
Geranium - Rooting 3 or 4 inch long stem cuttings in damp sand is the most economical way to build up a supply of Geraniums for outdoor use next spring. See Yardener’s Helper for guidance; key words "caring for geranium".
Heather – Do not fertilize heathers. They must have poor, infertile soil. This forces them to send roots deeply into the soil for water and nutrients that is beneficial to the plant.
Hibiscus – If you stop deadheading old blooms, the plant will produce interesting seed pods that give winter interest if left uncut until spring.
Hydrangea – No fertilizing until next spring for this plant.
Optional – Hydrangea blossoms make excellent dried flowers. Choose mature blossoms and hang them by their stems in a dry, warm area until they are dry. An alternative is to put them in a vase (after trimming off the leaves) with a little water, allowing the water to gradually evaporate.
Junipers In General – This plant is an evergreen and offers no fall color. If you want more Juniper plants, plant them this month or next month. The plants you already have are easily transplanted. See Yardener’s Helper for instructions.
Lilac – Optional task – Older Lilacs that are in soil rich in organic matter do not need extra feeding. However, young, newly planted shrubs benefit from fertilization for a few years until they are well established. Every other year or so, spread 2 cupfuls of an all-purpose, slow-acting granular fertilizer on the soil around the base of the Lilac for the next rain to soak in. Do not overdo, since too much nitrogen will stimulate lots of foliage at the expense of flower production. After several years the decomposing layers of organic mulch at the base of the plant will improve the soil and it should be rich enough to support Lilacs with out supplemental feeding. In fact, if older lilacs are fertilized too much, they may stop blooming, so go carefully.
Mandevilla – Optional - This vine is a tender perennial, so in most parts of the country it is treated as an annual since it will die from freezing. Some folks go to the trouble to bring it indoors a few weeks before expect first frost. Cut it back severely and treat it as a houseplant in good indirect light.
Marigold – Your plants will die with the first hard frost. Remove them to the compost pile but keep the beds mulched right through the winter, ready for next year’s plants.
Parsley – Parsley can handle a fairly heavy frost so will produce leaves well into the late fall. While parsley will grow for two years, it is best to remove this year’s plant and start all over next spring.
Peony – Wait as long as you can before cutting back the foliage of this plant even though it looks terrible. If you can wait till the first of October, then fine.
Optional - Peony clumps need not be disturbed for as long as ten or even 20 years, but can be divided to provide more plants. To divide a root clump, gently dig it up. With a sharp knife, cut the clump into sections, leaving at least three "eyes", or growing points, on each section. Replant each section immediately, and at the proper depth, in a prepared bed.
Poincettia - In the fall when the temperature drops to 45 to 50 at night, dig up the plants/pots and bring them indoors. They can sit in a well lighted spot until about October 1. Since blossom buds are stimulated by long nights, it will be necessary to shift to a strong light/dark schedule to stimulate flower bud formation by December. To provide this essential photoperiod of 15 hours of complete dark every day from October 1st through early December either:1. Put the poinsettia in a dark, cool closet at 5:00 each night and bring it out to the light at 8:00 each morning, orLeave it where it is and cover it at sunset with a doubled paper grocery bag and remove it in the morning.
Bush Rose – Leaving faded flowers on canes in late summer and early fall discourages the development of new growth that is susceptible to frost. It makes rose plants more winter hardy.
Tool Of The Month - The Fiskars Company has introduced a new line of shovel and spade in the past year that we have tested here at Yardener’s and them to be very good tools, although they may be too heavy for most women. Type “Fiskars” in the search window of www.yardener.com.
KEEPING A HAPPY ECOSYSTEM - Later in the month, beware of yellow jackets and their underground nests in areas that have been undisturbed for weeks. They are frantic for food as frost approaches so do not leave any outdoors
Delay cutting back dried flower heads to provide seeds to finches and others.
Optional – This is a great month to think about planting a shrub or tree that has berries that birds like such as holly; there are lists in Yardener’s Helper.
Have A Great Month!
From The Gang At Yardener’s Information Services, Inc.