Late Summer ‘Do’s
Late summer is here, can autumn be far behind? Gardeners often
find themselves wondering what gardening activities are best done
at this time. Here is a list of things to get done now and some
things to put off for a couple of months.
Keep up with watering. Water is always important, but
especially so when the heat is on. Fruits and vegetables need
water to develop their crops properly. Perennial and annual flowers
will perform better with adequate water. Don’t forget the
trees and shrubs. Even mature trees grow better when given supplemental
water. For most plants, a good rule of thumb is one inch of water
per week. Remember to water infrequently and deeply; avoid shallow
Deadhead flowers. This is simply removing faded flowers.
Deadheading annuals will keep them blooming throughout the whole
growing season. Deadheading perennials will channel the energy
that would have been spent on seed production, into root growth.
When you deadhead, remember to remove the whole flower, not just
the faded petals. The part that forms the seeds is usually at
the base of the flower and that’s the part you need to remove.
Plant, transplant and divide perennials; plant spring
flowering bulbs. As September rolls around, air temperatures will
be cooling off, while soil temperatures stay warm. This makes
for good planting. There will be less heat stress in newly transplanted
plants and the warm soil encourages root development.
Don’t prune trees and shrubs yet. Woody
plants need to slow down and prepare to harden off so they can
survive winter. Pruning in late summer can stimulate growth that
may not harden off properly and can be damaged by winter. If you
want to do a late season pruning , wait until autumn is really
here and the leaves are changing color and falling off the trees
(usually around early October). Evergreens should not be pruned
at the end of the season, wait until spring.
Don’t fertilize trees and shrubs. Just like pruning,
fertilizing is a stimulus. It should wait until autumn is truly
here. You can fertilize in autumn (very late September or early
October), because the soil temperatures are still warm and the
roots are actively growing.
Don’t mulch yet. Winter mulch can be very beneficial
to perennials, trees and shrubs. Winter mulch helps to moderate
soil temperatures and prevent freezes and thaws that can lead
to soil heaving. Soil heaving can be detrimental to shallow rooted
perennials. If you are going to apply mulch, wait until there
have been a couple of light freezes, then apply the mulch.
August - September 2002:
Purple Plants Can Be Pesky
Rust Diseases on Home Lawns | Spring
Late Summer ‘Do’s and ’Don’t’s
| Fall Lawn Care