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Green Thumb Tips - September

Echterís Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
 
Flower Gardens
Pansies planted this month will stay in bloom until the ground freezes. Mulch them for winter protection and these hardy pansies will be back in flower when the warm days of spring return. They are great companions for spring-flowering bulbs.
 
Plant frost-hardy plants like garden mums, asters, flowering kale, flowering cabbage, and pansies as you remove tender annuals from beds and borders. Mums are a great value for the spectacular show of color they provide.
 
For fun try taking cuttings of your favorite geraniums before first frost. Dip these cuttings in a rooting hormone and place in good, lightweight soil. Water in well, but let soil go fairly dry between waterings.
 
When digging up your cannas, dahlias and gladioli, use a felt tipped pen to write on the bulbs what color each bulb is so that you will be able to identify which is which in the spring. Store these and other tender bulbs in moistened vermiculite or peat moss in a cool area and protect them from freezing over the winter.

 
Bulbs
The best selection of bulbs is now. Donít forget bulb food or super phosphate when planting your tulips, daffodils, crocus and other spring-flowering bulbs.
 
Plant colchicum and fall-blooming crocus now which will bloom for you this fall.
 
The easiest way to plant bulbs at the proper depth is with a bulb planter or an auger which attaches to your electric drill.
 
Plant bulbs under groundcovers like thyme or veronica for a great combination of flowers and backdrop
This is a low maintenance technique for combining plants for a succession of color.
 
When planting bulbs the pointed end of the bulb is positioned upward. Plant small, early-flowering bulbs where they can be seen from indoors, since they bloom when it is usually too cold to enjoy them outside.
 

Perennials & Roses
September is an excellent time for planting perennials. The temperatures are cooling down and the soil is
still warm which allows rooting to take place.
   
Plant perennials at the same time you plant bulbs. Youíll be able to place perennial plants between your
bulb groupings for color from spring to fall.
 
Divide peonies and daylilies this time of year. Stop in for a care sheet for instructions for both of these beautiful perennials.
 
Remove any foliage with fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust. Discard in the trash. Cleaning
up now will help prevent a recurrence of the problem next year.
 

Lawns
Lawns grow best in spring and fall. They will benefit greatly from two more feedings. Fertilize your lawn with Green Thumb Lawn Fertilizer by mid September. Green Thumb Winterizer should be applied in mid October. Your lawn will be nice and green in the spring.

Bindweed, dandelion, and other perennial weeds will be moving food reserves down to their roots now.
This is a great time to use Weed Free Zone to kill these invasive weeds, roots and all.
 
Core aerate your lawn in mid to late September so that winter moisture can soak in.
 
September is an excellent time to seed or sod your lawn. Cooler temperatures mean less stress on you
and your lawn.
 

Trees & Shrubs
September is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and vines. The soil is still warm and good for root development and to get the plant established. Water in well and cover with mulch to retain moisture.
Be sure to pay extra attention to the watering needs throughout the fall and winter months.

Don't be alarmed if your pine trees begin dropping their older needles. It's normal for the inner needles
to yellow or brown and drop off in the fall.
 
Avoid excessive pruning of trees and shrubs, because pruning encourages new growth to begin and you want the plants to harden off before going into dormancy for the winter.
 
If you had insect problems on your trees and shrubs, whether they be aphids or borers, an application of Ferti-lome Tree and Shrub Systemic Insect Drench, a systemic insecticide that will greatly reduce their population. Apply this fall and your plants will be protected for a whole year.
 
Watch for leaf color to change on the trees and shrubs around your neighborhoods. Then come into the nursery and select the plant of your choice and the color that you want. Genetically trees and shrubs
may have different shades of fall color, so this is a great time to pick your plants.
 
Rake up fallen apples, crabapples, and other fruit trees from the ground to prevent insects from overwintering.
 
You can reduce the amount of bruising and damage to apples and other fruit by using a long-handled fruit picker to reach the highest branches of fruit trees.
 

Vegetable Gardens
Harvest potatoes when the foliage browns. It is better to harvest potatoes when the soil is fairly dry,
using a pitchfork or spading fork to gently loosen the soil around them. Let the tubers dry for a few hours
in a warm place, but out of the direct sun.

Winter squash, such as acorn, spaghetti, buttercup, butternut, and Hubbard are ready to harvest when
you cannot puncture the skin with your thumbnail and the stems are dry and begin to shrivel.

Gently turn pumpkins and gourds to prevent soft spots. Place three or four inches of straw under your pumpkins to prevent damage to the bottoms.
 
Keep frost blankets handy for covering tomatoes or any other tender plants from early frosts.
 
When onion tops start to yellow, bend them over to divert the plantís energy to the bulb. After the tops turn brown, lift the onions from the soil and let them dry in the sun. Once the skins are dry, cut the stems and store the onions in a cool, dry place.
 
Before first frost dig up herbs like chives, rosemary and parsley, place them in pots in a south facing window for seasonings all winter.
 
When frost threatens, pick your green tomatoes, place them in a single layer in a cardboard box, being sure they do not touch each other and cover with a newspaper. Place boxes in a dark, cool place, but donít forget to check often as the tomatoes will ripen sporadically.
 
Make notes or a journal to keep records on which of your vegetables did best and were the most prolific
and which vegetables did not perform well. Focus on planting varieties which performed well for you. 
 
Spray or pull up all weeds before they go to seed. This will save a lot of time and aggravation next spring.
 

Indoor Plants
Check your foliage plants carefully for insects before you bring them back indoors.
 
Plant amaryllis bulbs the end of this month for blooms at Christmas.
 

Feathered Friends
Continue to supply your hummingbird feeders for the fall migration show.
  
Place your bird feeders in a nearby tree or large shrub that offers protection from predators and wind while they enjoy their meal.

 
Misc.
Stay warm while outside with a chimenea or fire pit. These outdoor ďfireplacesĒ will keep you warm and
cozy while preparing your meal and entertaining outside.

G
ardening can pay big dividends. A recent survey shows that homes with well-kept lawns and landscapes can sell for up to 15% more than similar homes with unkempt yards.

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