Friday, September 07, 2007

September Garden Chores

Some Things can Wait until Spring.
Here is some info from Jan Riggenbach about Chores to do now and Chores to do Later.

The next few weeks are the right time for several outdoor jobs. It's prime time to reseed bare spots in the lawn, or completely renovate the lawn, if necessary. Controlling dandelions and other perennial weeds is also a job best done in fall, not spring.

September is the traditional month for planting new peonies or digging and dividing old peony plants.

If you have bare spots in garden beds, now is a good time to shop for perennials and small-sized shrubs to beautify those areas. You may even find some end-of-the-season bargains.

The next few weeks also offer an ideal time to dig and divide crowded daylilies, hostas and garden phlox.

The cooler days of autumn are perfect for refreshing perennial beds with a layer of compost, topped with new mulch.

I love puttering in the garden in autumn as the weather begins to cool. It's nice to get as much done as possible now, rather than in the hectic planting days of spring.

But amidst all the things you can do now, there are some garden chores best left undone.

Just enjoy asters as they come into their full fall glory. Although these perennials look and perform best when dug and divided every two years, that job is best done in spring.

The same goes for chrysanthemums, which would be unlikely to survive the winter if divided after blooms fade. (Research proves that mums fare best when plants are left alone, with tops uncut until spring.)

Also leave alone for now any plant that will provide beauty in the winter garden, such as tall sedum, coneflower, Russian sage and ornamental grass.

Put away loppers, pruners and hedge shears. Roses, shrubs and trees pruned now are apt to put out new shoots that would die when the weather turns cold.

Don't fertilize gardens or trees now, either, to avoid pushing tender new growth at the end of the season.

While autumn is generally fine for planting, there are some perennials, shrubs and trees that tend to fare best when planted in spring, not fall.

Wait until spring to buy and plant shallow-rooted plants such as coral bells and strawberries. Spring planting is also best for bleeding heart, columbine, Japanese anemone, Lenten rose (Hellebore) and shasta daisy.

Also delay planting roses until spring.

Trees that many nurserymen recommend planting in spring, not fall, include redbud, ginkgo, magnolia, weeping willow, tulip tree and oak. (If you want to try anyway, cover the ground around your new tree with a 4-inch mulch blanket.)

Here are a few September chores from Backyard Gardener:

Zone 4

* Harvest apples and store in a cool place
* Plant garlic
* Dethatch and aerate the lawn
* Clean out rose beds and apply fungicide one last time to susceptible varieties
* Plant perennials
* Move tender houseplants, etc. indoors after rinsing and repotting, and set up a grow light to supplement natural light
* Clean and restock birdfeeders
* Begin to move tropical water lilies and other tender aquatics indoors
* Plant spring-blooming bulbs; refrigerate those you intend to force
* Set out bareroot peonies

Zone 5

* Set out transplants of cool-weather vegetables
* Plant winter-hardy pansies and fall annuals (calendula, dianthus, ornamental cabbage and kale)
* Plant tag teams of perennials and spring-blooming bulbs that will complement each other or bloom in sequence next season
* Water trees and shrubs when rainfall is scarce to "winterize" them
* Dethatch and aerate the lawn
* Dehead chrysanthemum plants to keep flower buds forming through the fall
* Clean out rose beds; apply fungicide; leave hips for winter color and bird food
* Prune summer-bearing raspberries
* Mow back strawberry plants; remove weeds and remulch
* Move tender houseplants, etc. indoors after rinsing and repotting, and set up a grow light to supplement natural light

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