Your September to-do list for a healthy garden
Use an organic fertilizer to help control winter weeds.
Since there is so much to do in September, let’s jump the gun by a few days.
Plant wildflower seeds if you missed the best time in the summer. Plant Bermuda grass by seed no later than early September. Solid sod of all grasses can be planted any time. Cool-season grasses such as ryegrass and fescue can be planted in the later part of the month. It’s also a good time to plant trees of all kinds.
Transplant established spring-flowering perennials. Plant fall-blooming perennials such as asters and mums. Plant cool-season vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beets, turnips, spinach, lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes and English peas.
Fertilize all plantings with organic fertilizer, such as Medina or Nature’s Creation, at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Corn gluten meal is also an excellent fertilizer and helps control winter weeds such as dandelions, henbit, rescue grass and Poa annua. Foliar-feed everything with Garrett Juice or compost tea. Also drench the soil around new and problematic plants.
Prune shade and ornamental trees if needed. Make no flush cuts and use no pruning paint. Remove spent blooms from annuals and perennials. Remove surface tree roots if you must, but no more than one or two per year. It’s better to leave the roots and add shredded tree trimmings mulch or convert from grass to ground covers.
Apply whole ground cornmeal at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet for fungal diseases in turf.
For webworms, tent caterpillars, armyworms and cabbage loopers, spray Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or spinosad products. Add 1 ounce of molasses per gallon of spray for increased effectiveness. Make a note to release trichogramma wasps next spring.
Apply beneficial nematodes for grubworms if necessary, but realize that only 10% of the grubs you see are harmful to plants. Dry molasses will also help and control fire ants. Spray aphids with garlic or garlic pepper tea. Spinosad can also be used. Add 1 ounce of molasses per gallon of spray.
Treat black spot and powdery mildew with hydrogen peroxide, and see the Organic Rose Program on dirtdoctor.com. For trees in stress with yellow leaves, mistletoe, sapsucker damage, dead tip growth and other symptoms, apply the entire Sick Tree Treatment.
Avoid the toxic chemical pre-emergents. Organic weed control results from healthy soil, thick healthy plants, fertilizing with corn gluten meal and spot-spraying natural organic weed controls such as strong vinegar.
Mow weekly, and leave the clippings on the lawn.
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