53 August 19, 2006
In August, as things slow down a bit in the store, I get a chance to do some reading about gardening. In my reading, I found a few “ new ‘ things to tell you.
In the spring, you may have used a corn gluten product as an organic crabgrass pre-emergent control method. You can also apply this product now to control many of those dandelion seeds that may have spread into your lawn. If you apply it now, it will also act as an organic nitrogen source that will help to fertilize your lawn.
A question has come up about seeding your lawn if you have lots of crabgrass plants in your lawn. It should come as no surprise to many that crabgrass plants have grown like crazy in the extreme heat that we have had this summer. What has surprised many people is that the pre-emergent crabgrass control that was applied in the spring appears not to have worked. The feeling in the industry is that the heavy spring rains washed most of the crabgrass control away before it had a chance to kill the crabgrass seed. Many lawns are now loaded with crabgrass. You could pull all of it up, but the plants are going to die with the first frost. However, the seed heads have formed on the plants and the seeds have or will soon drop their seeds on the ground. These seeds will sprout in the spring and become next year’s crabgrass plants. The quandary becomes what to do about seeding your lawn. Late August is a good time to seed a lawn. The soil temperatures are warm and grass seed will germinate quickly. If you can get the seed down during August and September, the grass will have enough time to grow and thicken up before the winter sets in. If the grass is thick enough, it can shade the soil enough to cut down on the ability of the crabgrass seed to germinate. In the spring, you can apply a crabgrass pre-emergent to stop any of the crabgrass seed that may have a chance to sprout. Just be sure to use a spring control that has the chemical Siduron. This product will stop the crabgrass seed but won’t hurt the new lawn that you put in during the fall. To sum it all up, you can seed now and don’t even bother pulling up those crabgrass plants. Once we get a frost, those plants will die and the grass plants that came from your seeding will continue to grow, filling in those spots where the crabgrass plants have been growing.
If your window boxes took a beating in the summer heat, you can find the first of the hardy mums and other fall plants in your local garden centers. A mum in a 6-inch pot will nicely fit into a window box. 3 of these plants should fill a 24-inch long window box. You can even have room to add in some flowering cabbage or kale, if you pick out plants that have been grown in 4-inch pots.
Mums in larger pots can fill in those bare spots in your flower borders. There are also many nice late summer flowering perennials that you can plant now. Many will flower well into the fall. Don’t feel that because summer is winding down that you have to put up with a fading flower display in your yard. There are many plants that you can use to perk up your gardens.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.