For those who haven’t over-stimulated their cool-season grasses such as fescue and blue grass this summer by over-watering and over-fertilizing, now is the time to provide a pick-me-up for your turf. You could aerate the lawn while the grass is still actively growing, but regardless, now is the time to apply some nitrogen fertilizer. Apply no more than one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet during September and another one pound the last time you cut your grass. If your grass is thinning due to the hot summer, you can also over-seed now to help thicken it up.
Many people have had abundant vegetable gardens this summer, but it doesn’t have to be over. Now is a great time to consider planting radishes, lettuce and spinach for fall harvest and also to put in some green onion sets. If you are a garlic lover now is the time to get ready for planting your garlic. Choose a sunny spot that drains well, work the soil, and plant single cloves about one- to three-inches deep and four inches apart. Planting between now and the end of October will give you nice-sized bulbs in August. Buying good size bulbs for planting is best since the bigger the clove you plant the bigger the bulb you will dig up in August next year.
Probably one of the more overlooked items for fall gardening is cleaning up debris around fruit trees, grape vines and other plants where you had insect or disease problems. However, you should not put diseased plant debris or plants that were heavily infested with insects in the compost pile since you may not kill either the disease or any overwintering insect eggs or adults. It’s better to just dispose of this plant material rather than risk another or bigger outbreak next season.
If you can find perennials, shrubs or trees, now is a great time to plant. With the cooler fall air temperatures plants don’t need to transpire so much – leaving them with more energy to put into some good root growth before soil temperatures cool down. However, remember that many plants have been held in the nurseries throughout the summer, which means you really want to check that the plant is still in good health and hasn’t been unduly stressed. Also make sure that the plant’s root system is still in good shape.
I have had some calls about the fall web worm infesting trees now. This pest is similar to the tent caterpillar but it usually puts silken nests at the ends of branches rather than at a branch crotch. Since its infestations are usually late in the season, there is really no need for control unless you have multiple years of problems with it.
Thought for the day: “My neighbour asked if he could use my lawnmower and I told him of course he could, so long as he didn’t take it out of my garden.” —Eric Morecambe.
For more information about these topics call the Utah State University Extension Grand County office at 259-7558 or email Mike Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.