21August 24, 2017
The end of August is near and that means that you have some chores to do. Let’s get started on the Honey Do list.
If you have the tall bearded iris in your garden, you will notice that the rhizomes are about half way above the surface of the ground. You may think of this part of the iris as a bulb but it could be more accurately thought of as part of the root system. You will notice that the rhizomes tend to multiply on the surface. You will find that there are all sizes of the rhizomes in that cluster of growth. In the center you will find larger rhizomes and toward the outside edge of the cluster you will find smaller rhizomes. If you look closely at the large rhizomes, you will probably see small holes in the rhizomes. The iris borer causes these holes. The borer tunnels into the larger rhizomes and eats through the rhizome. Eventually, the borer will kill the
rhizome. What you need to do is to dig up all of the rhizomes that have grown together, and set aside the rhizomes that have been growing along the outside edge of the cluster. The smaller rhizomes are the ones that you will be planting. The smaller rhizomes are less likely to be infected with the iris borer. When you replant the smaller rhizomes, you will want to work some fertilizer into the soil. You should always plant the rhizomes about half way into the soil. This means that you will still see part of the rhizome above the ground. The rhizomes should be watered in and the soil kept moist until they are well rooted into the soil. The old rhizomes should be discarded to lessen the chance of infection of the newly planted rhizomes. The bearded iris should be divided every three years. If you do this in late August, you will find that the newly replanted iris will give you spectacular flowers next spring.
Late summer is also a good time to apply lime to your lawn. Your lawn is recovering from the heat of the summer and the relative lack of rain that we have had this summer. Thankfully we have had more rain than last year so lawns are not as damaged as they were last year. If your soil is very acidic, you will find that the lawn does not grow as well as it could. The reason is that acidic soil makes it harder for any of the fertilizer do dissolve into a form that the roots can take up. When the soil is very acidic, it is harder for the lawn to grow but easier for the weeds to grow. If you keep the measure of acidic soil known as ph up near 6.5 you will find that the lawn grows so well that many weeds can be forced out of the lawn by the vigorously growing lawn. You can buy small ph test kits that will allow you to test the soil. We sell these kits in the store and they are about $ 2.00. Once you have done the test, you will know how acidic the soil really is in your yard. Knowing how acidic your soil is will allow you to purchase the right amount of lime to get your lawn back to a ph of 6.5.
Now is also a good time to apply fertilizer to your lawn. An application of lawn fertilizer will help your lawn to recover from the summer growing conditions. You will then follow up with a fertilizer that is referred to as a fall or winter fertilizer. This fertilizer is applied about 6 to 8 weeks after you apply the late summer fertilizer.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.