52 August 26, 2006

As summer slowly slips away, it is time to begin your fall gardening chores. Let me give you a brief list of some of the things you need to be doing soon. Some of the items need to be done by specific dates. Planning now for these gardening chores will allow you to get things done in the yard and still enjoy all of the other fall activities.


The heat of the summer has turned many lawns into dry grass. If you plan on seeding your lawn, you should keep in mind that, on average, you have until the end of September to plant bluegrass and fescue grass seed mixtures. The seed needs up to 21 days to germinate and then you will need time for the root system to develop before the ground freezes. If you are planting perennial ryegrass mixtures, you have until the middle of October. These dates are averages for establishing a lawn. Some years you may get away with seeding later in to the fall. However, why go to all of the work of seeding a lawn if you won’t get a well-established lawn this fall.


Grub controls are most effective when they are applied in the early fall. This summer saw large numbers of adult Japanese beetles feeding on plants in the Greater Newburyport area. The female will have laid many eggs in sunny lawn areas. These eggs hatch out during late August thru early September. If you apply grub control while the grubs are small, you will get a much greater rate of control than an application of grub control in the spring.


If you like to see the flowers of tulips and daffodils in the spring, then you need to plant the bulbs during the fall. Most of the bulbs are now in route from Holland. Usually by Columbus Day, the last of the bulbs is shipped into the United States. If you want the best selection of bulbs, you should plan on buying the bulbs by the middle of September.


Every spring, I hear the stories of how someone’s hardy mums did not come back. With a little bit of question and answer, I usually find out that the mums sat in the pots until they were hit by the frost and then the mums were put into the ground. Just like any perennial, Mums need time to develop a root system before the ground freezes. The key to having hardy mums being truly hardy is to get them into the ground during early September. When you plant your hardy mums, be sure to use a plant starter fertilizer to stimulate strong root growth.


Many of you may have the misfortune to have Japanese Bamboo growing in your yard. This plant can overtake a yard in just a few years. It has a massive root system that can go many feet into the ground. Pulling it up does no good and spraying it with herbicides during most of the year does little to control the plant. In the fall, the bamboo forms a seed tassel at the top of the plant. This is the beginning of the process whereby the bamboo pulls all of the nutrients in the stalks down into the roots. If you apply Round-Up in the fall, you will get the best control of this hardy weed. By applying the herbicide as the tassels form on the plant, you should only need another application of Round-Up next fall to really wipe this plant out of your yard.


If you escaped the gardening season without having a fungus disease on some of your plants, you were a very lucky gardener. As the diseased leaves fall onto the ground, it is important to rake up and dispose of those leaves. Any leaves left in the garden or yard will contain spores. Those spores are”eggs” for next spring’s outbreak of fungus diseases. Fall clean up of diseased leaves will go a long way in preventing a serious outbreak of fungus diseases next spring.


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

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