Mums and roses display a multitude of vibrant colors at this time of year. (Rose photo courtesy of Susan Lake, Lubbock County Master Gardeners.)



What to do in September

Fall is a great time for planting. Trees and shrubs planted now will be well established by spring’s growing season and endure next year’s heat much better.

Time to sow seeds of snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, and other winter flowers in flats for planting outdoors during October.

Dig and divide spring bulbs and perennials such as daffodils, iris, daylilies, ajuga, liriope, and cannas.

Plant leaf and root vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, spinach, and lettuce late in the month.

Wildflowers should be sown this month into weed-free, well-tilled soil.

Time to sow or overseed cool season grass seed such as fescue and rye. Remember if you apply pre-emergent weed killers to your lawn, grass seeds will not germinate.

Rejuvenate heat-stressed geraniums, petunias, and chrysanthemums (photo at left) for the fall season by lightly pruning, fertilizing, and watering.

Remove weak, unproductive growth from roses (photo at left) to stimulate new growth for fall beauty.

Prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Hold off on major pruning until mid-winter. Pruning now will stimulate tender growth prior to frost.

Root prune established trees and shrubs that you intend to move this winter. This allows them to establish new roots within their eventual soil balls. Do not cut taproots at this time.

Trim houseplants that are spending the summer outdoors to reshape them before their return indoors.

This is the last chance to apply iron sulfate to correct yellowed foliage on iron-deficient plants such as St. Augustine grass, apricot trees, mulberries, and roses.

Be on the lookout
Apply pre-emergent weed killer mid-September to mid-October for the most effective kill. Read the label carefully. Some pre-emergents target broadleaf weeds and others target grassy weeds. Select the product accordingly.

Miscellaneous chores
Remember to water plants with green berries or fruit to prevent them from drying out. Hollies will frequently drop their fruit, and nandinas will not produce berries under drought conditions.

Christmas cactus can be made to flower by supplying 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and cool nights for a month starting mid-October. Keep plants on the dry side for a month prior to the treatment.

    (c) 2007 - 2008 Howard County Master Gardeners