September 23, 2015
We have continued to be in a dry weather pattern. As much as any of us dislike having rainy weather for a few days, we desperately need rain for our lawns and our gardens.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I have stressed the importance of watering your plants if Mother Nature doesn’t provide the water needed by your plants. In the fall, it is very important that your plants get a steady supply of water. In the fall, most shrubs take up extra water and store the water in their branches. This allows the shrubs to lose some moisture during the winter months to the very dry wind that pulls moisture out of the stems and leaves. So far we haven’t had enough rain to allow the plants to take up the moisture that they need. Even if you are watering your plants, the water may not be getting to the roots because the soil is bone dry. It may be beneficial to your plants to apply gypsum to the soil. Gypsum helps to loosen up the soil and thus allows the water to get down to the plants root system. An application of gypsum to your lawn will also allow the soil to loosen up and allow the water to reach the roots of your lawn.
Speaking of lawns, we have seen an increase in the number of lawns that are having grubs feeding on the lawn. The grubs are young and they are gray in color as opposed to the mature grubs that are white in color. If the skunks are digging in your lawn, they are looking for the grubs. If you are beginning to get dry patches in your lawn, it may be from the grubs feeding on the roots of your lawn. If you have had a grub problem in the past or if you had Japanese beetles feeding on your plants during July and August, you should treat your lawn now with a grub control.
Many of you will be planting hardy mums in your yard. You may also be fixing up your window boxes or other planters with mums and other fall flowers. These fall flowers need to be fertilized just as much as you fed your flowers that you planted in the spring. Mums that you purchase now will have flowers but if you look closely, you will see that there is many flower buds nestled down amongst the leaves. If you want those flower buds to grow into flowers, you need to fertilize your mums on a regular schedule.
Speaking of mums, did you know that they are a perennial plant? If you get them into the ground, you can get them to come back year after year. There is one catch. Many people want to have pots of mums decorating their porch or steps. Come the end of October, the frost has knocked back the foliage and people put the plants into the ground. Come spring, there is no sign of life in the mums that were planted in October. The reason the mums didn’t come back is because they didn’t have time to put out a root system before the ground froze. If you want to have mums be a true perennial, you need to get the mums in the ground now. By planting the mums in the ground now, you will give the plants time to get their roots out in the soil. This allows the mums to be truly perennial in your gardens.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.