28August 18, 2016

Once we hit mid August, we are slowly sliding toward Fall. If you are a Summer lover, you are bound to be disappointed. However, if you ask enough people, you will learn that Fall is the best of the seasons in the mind of many people. But Summer is still here, but you do have to think about Fall. Let me tell you why.

One of the things that many people run into in the Fall concerns their tomato plants. Every year, at about this time, people will come in and ask me why their tomatoes aren’t ripening. A couple of things can be going on. If you planted the Beefsteak type of tomatoes, you wanted to have those big slicing type tomatoes to put on hamburgers. The issue is that these types of tomatoes are late in the season ripening tomatoes. It isn’t until late August or early September that these varieties begin to ripen. The other problem may be that your tomato plants are not getting enough potassium. Potassium is key in getting those green tomatoes to turn red. At this time of the year, particularly tomato plants that are grown in containers, you should be fertilizing your tomato plants with a fertilizer high in potassium at least every 7 to 10 days. This will help to ripen those tomatoes.

Speaking of tomatoes, many of you will have tomato plants that have set a lot of tomatoes and those plants will still be putting out more tomato flowers. The flowers that your plants set now, will be pollinated and begin to form green tomatoes. The problem is, those tomatoes will probably not have time to ripen before the frost hits. If you like fried green tomatoes, then you let those flowers form. For everyone else, you should be pinching off those new flower buds. By removing the flower buds that are forming for the rest of the season, you will be allowing your tomato plants to put all their effort into ripening the tomatoes that have already formed on your plants.

Many of you have brown lawns due to the lack of moisture in the soil. The question that many people have is will an application of lawn fertilizer help the brown lawn to green up again? When you put fertilizer on a lawn, the moisture in the soil releases the fertilizer into the soil. The grass then takes up the fertilizer and uses the water in the soil along with the fertilizer to form new blades of grass. The key is that you need consistent moisture in the soil for the fertilizer to help your lawn to recover from the heat and drought. If you can water your lawn to the point where the soil is moist and if you can keep that soil moist, than yes you can fertilize your lawn. If you cannot keep up with watering your lawn from now until frost, an application of fertilizer is not a good idea.

If we get a normally rainy fall, fall is an excellent time of the year to re-seed your lawn. It is recommended that you have the seed sown by the end of September. This gives the bluegrasses and the fescues that are the predominant seed in grass seed mixtures time to sprout and to get a root system established before the ground freezes in the late fall.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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