35 September 10, 2008
We have had a fair amount of rain this summer. If you add in the rain from Tropical Storm Hanna, we have had a few months of wet weather. We all seem to have had a problem with fungus diseases in our yard. Another problem that is sure to show up is moss growing on our lawns, gardens and even the roof of our house. If you remember this past spring and the spring before, we had lots of problems with moss in our yards. Cool temperatures and moist conditions lead to the outbreak of moss. We are now coming into the cooler weather of fall. As the temperatures of fall cool, moss will be spreading throughout our yards. One of your jobs this week is to go out to your lawn and look for signs of moss growing in the lawn. If you see moss growing, now would be a good time to apply a moss killer to your lawn. If you can get that moss knocked back this fall, you will have less of a problem next spring.
Fungus diseases have been a problem on our plants all summer long. As the plants drop those fungus infected leaves, make sure to get those leaves raked up and dispose of the leaves. Many people make the mistake of letting the leaves remain in the garden. A good example of this would be the summer squash and zucchini that have succumbed to powdery mildew. Many of you will let those plants sit in the garden and rot away into the soil. However, as those plants rot into the ground, the fungus diseases form spores. Spores are the “eggs” of the fungus disease. The spores will sit on the soil, waiting for the spring rains to splash the spores up onto your 2009 vegetable garden. Once the spores land on the leaves, the powdery mildew will be off and running for another season. If you remove all of the dead plants this fall along with any dead vegetables, leaves and flowers, you will go a long way towards reducing the chances of a fungus disease starting up again next spring. Make sure to clean up those vegetable gardens, annual and perennial flower beds, rose bushes, lilac trees and any other area where fungus diseases have been found this growing season.
A question has come up several times about fertilizing perennials and shrubs at this time of the year. At this time of the year, an application of phosphorous around the base of your shrubs and sprinkled around the perennial gardens, will help the plants to develop a strong root system. This is particularly important for those shrubs that need to take up extra water this fall to help those plants to make it through the winter.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.