This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

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August 29, 2007

 

Transition Time...
I've gone and done it. If you have already looked at Kevin's pictures you will know what I am talking about. I have let most of my potted annuals die. Yep, die. I am tired of them and they are tired looking so out they go! Transition time is here. Out with the summer annuals and in with the fall and winter ones. It is time to plant pansies and mums. A new season is right around the corner so I will greet it with newly planted pots and appropriate color.

Oh yeah, have you thought about planting bulbs? Kevin and I purchased close to 500 the other day. I should get started soon because as you know planting 500 bulbs takes a little bit of time. Next spring will be delightful. Lots of tulips, daffodils and crocus. I can hardly wait to show you all.

They are calling for rain today so I am hoping they are right. Last Wednesday is when we had an unexpected storm. It rained really hard and the wind blew even harder - bringing down some rather large limbs in our area. It was an isolated storm because several people in the Kansas City area had no rain at all. I was glad to get what we did.

~ Shelly  

Tomato Trickery...
Longer shadows and shorter days a sure sign that summer is gradually coming to an end.  Make sure you don't miss out on any tomatoes by employing a couple of tricks to get the most out of your tomato plants.  

  • By removing some of the leaves, more sunlight will be allowed to reach your tomatoes.  The shady protection they provide is not needed as much now that fall is closing in.
  • Lopping the tops off the plants will help ensure that the plants' energy will go into finishing existing fruit production rather than the now hopeless task of producing new fruit.

These tricks (and a little luck) will help keep those tomato plants producing as long as possible.

Salad Serendipity....
There's still time to seed some fall salad crops for this season. With milder weather and rainfall (hopefully) around the corner some fall-season vegetables can still be seeded now with a decent chance of developing before freezing weather stops their progress. To increase your odds, try lettuce, radishes, and spinach.  These salad crops grow rapidly and can withstand a light freeze. A hard early freeze could st
op everything in its tracks but it's certainly worth the risk for fresh salad greens. 

The Great Divide...
Savvygardeners who took good care of their perennials this summer might notice them bursting from their beds.  Sound familiar?  If so, they need some relief.  Once they are done blooming for the year it's time to divide them.

You'll know your plants need to be divided if:

  • They are spreading beyond your desired range for them.
  • The flowers are not producing as well as in the past.
  • The center of the clump of flowers is dying.
  • The lower areas of foliage are sickly.

For a quick but effective description of the dividing process you can read "Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials" in our Features section. 

Packing Up The Peonies...
Peonies aren't particularly fond of being uprooted and transplanted but from time to time it may become necessary.  Maybe their plot has become too shady or another project is displacing them.  Here are a few simple steps to get it done right:

  1. Cut the stems to near ground level this month.
  2. Carefully dig up as much of the root system as possible.
  3. Replant the peony in a hole large enough for the roots.
  4. Make sure the buds are one to two inches below the soil surface.
  5. Toss in some bone meal and firm the soil around the plant.
  6. Water thoroughly.

Keep in mind - transplanted peonies often refuse to bloom the first spring after transplant.  Your patience will be rewarded in subsequent years.

Reinvigorate Wisteria...
Root pruning is a practice sometimes used in late fall to restore blooming on older Wisteria plants. It serves to check top growth and favor flower production and must be combined with summer pruning to be effective. Use a spade to cut vertically into the soil (about 18 inches deep) and about four feet from the main trunk, all around the vine.

Source

Weed Whackers...
Dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds that were a problem last spring and all summer should be controlled this fall.  The period from late September to mid-November is the ideal time to control broadleaf weeds in turfgrass because broadleaf weeds are most susceptible to herbicides at this time.  The turf and weeds must be actively growing for this to be effective so be sure your lawn is well-watered before applying.  Apply on a sunny day with moderate temperatures, no wind, ample soil moisture and no rain in the 24-hour forecast.  An herbicide containing two or more active ingredients including 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, triclopyr, or clopyralid will control most broadleaf weeds with one application.  As always, be careful when using broadleaf herbicides as they may damage the stuff you want to keep - like flowers, trees, shrubs, or vegetables.

Source

Late Season Grubs...
If your lawn has large dead patches, check to be sure that the damage has not been caused by grubs. This is easily done by pulling up handfuls of dead turf. If the turf comes up like a carpet, then you have grubs. Chemical treatments this late in the season are best done with trichlorfon (Dylox, Bayer 24-hr Grub Control). It is important that this product be watered in immediately after application. Waiting as little as 24 hours can reduce effectiveness to the point that grubs are not controlled. Apply 1/4 inch of water to insure the insecticide reaches the grubs.

A non-chemical alternative may be beneficial nematodes. There are a number of commercially available products that claim effectiveness against white grubs (the ones that work against Japanese Beetle grubs are of little use in the Kansas City area).

Finally...
"Scents bring memories, and many memories bring nostalgic pleasure. We would be wise to plan for this when we plant a garden."

~ Thalassa Cruso

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