Your garden and plants need constant attention, even in the cooler months. Here’s what you should do with your garden this month!
Leaves. Keep up with leaves falling onto the lawn and hard surfaces. Use a mulching blade to mow over leaves and let bits decompose into the lawn. Add a bag to your mower and gather leaves as you mow, tossing chopped pieces onto the compost pile or around perennials as mulch.
Seeds. Collect seeds from plants such as four o’clocks, cleome, and morning glory. Clip whole flower heads of cosmos, zinnia, and Tithonia and dry them on screens. Remove seeds from dried flower heads, and store in a cool, dry place in tightly sealed containers.
Stop Disease. Do not compost diseased leaves of plants (rose leaves with black spot, hollyhock leaves with rust, and all vegetable plant leaves with fungal diseases). Instead, destroy them.
Prevent Weeds. Spray glyphosate on weedy plants that are tough to kill. Candidates include dandelion, curly dock, bamboo, and poison ivy. In fall, plants will shift the chemical from leaves to roots, which may kill these plants at the roots. Always read and follow labeled instructions.
Planting. Fall is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. Roots will continue to grow all winter, so don’t forget to supplement watering if there is no adequate rainfall.
Pruning. Avoid pruning roses, shrubs, and evergreens spring this late in the year. Cutting plants now encourages new growth to emerge that will suffer winter damage, since it won’t have time to harden off before cold weather arrives.
Watering. If summer was on the dry side, water perennials, shrubs, and trees that were planted in the last 12 months. Newly planted perennials may die during their first winter because they lack sufficient moisture during their first year of growth.
Lawn care. Mow your growing grass. Repair bare spots with fresh sod. It is too late to reseed Bermuda lawns. You can over seed with perennial rye to maintain a green lawn all winter and or to prevent erosion of bare ground areas. To insure a great start to your lawn in spring, consider aerating using a core aerator, which yanks a plug of soil from your lawn. Then apply a thin layer of lawn top dressing and finish with a winterizer lawn fertilizer.
Weeds. Tackle weeds with herbicides. Broadleaf weed control will kill perennial weeds (dandelions, plantain, clover, etc.). Preemergent herbicides stop fall-germinating weeds (henbit, chickweed, etc.).
Visit Milberger’s Nursery for monthly courses on garden and plant upkeep!