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Landscaping - September Gardening Tips from Pikes
Date Posted: Sep 01, 2005
September is a transitional gardening month. Although the fall season is on the horizon, it does not officially arrive until September 22. The first part of the month usually remains hot, humid and summer-like. As fall progresses, air temperatures mercifully begin to cool. This is good news for gardens and gardeners alike because fall is an ideal time to plant…just about anything. That little nip in the air is invigorating and makes working in the landscape a lot more comfortable. Shrubs, trees, perennials, cool season annuals and vegetables, spring blooming flower bulbs, fescue seed and ryegrass seed will all flourish when planted in the fall.

Let's take a look at this month's gardening calendar:
  • After the 10th of the month, renovate your fescue lawn. You can start from scratch and plant your entire yard with fescue seed or you can overseed an existing fescue lawn to fill in bare spots or thinning turf. Improved turf-type fescues like Pike's Atlanta Blend perform best in the southeast. It will take about 14 days for the seed to germinate.
  • Apply a winter conditioning fertilizer to established fescue lawns after the 15th. This type of plant food fortifies the grass and helps to prevent winter injury. If you sow fescue seed in the fall, use a starter fertilizer instead. Starter fertilizers encourage vigorous root growth and quick greening.
  • Towards the end of the month, apply a pre-emergent product (crabgrass preventer) to your lawn to prevent poa annua (annual bluegrass) and certain other winter weeds. If you plan to sow fescue seed this fall, do not use a pre-emergent. It will prevent both the weed seeds and the grass seed from germinating.
  • September is a great time to apply lime to all types of turfgrasses except Centipede. Test your soil annually to determine the pH level. Our clay soil is naturally acidic. Lime decreases the acidity and helps to correct pH levels. The correct pH levels allow grasses and other plants to obtain the nutrition they need for a healthy existence.
  • Plant cool season vegetables in late September…Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, spinach and more will be available for fall planting.
  • If you have houseplants or tropical plants outdoors, wash the plants with an insecticidal soap solution and apply a systemic insecticide to the soil before moving them indoors for the winter. This should take care of any lingering pests.
  • Fertilize rose bushes to encourage a final flush of blooms. Cooler temperatures often revive rose bushes. They produce new leaves and blooms that can last until first frost.
  • Plant chrysanthemums for fall color. Perennial garden mums are available in a wide array of colors and sizes. When massed together, they produce eye-catching color in the fall landscape.
  • For best selection, buy spring flowering bulbs after Labor Day. Store them in a cool, dry location for several weeks, like the fruit/vegetable compartment in your refrigerator or a cool basement. Do not store bulbs in plastic bags or they may rot. Use paper or mesh bags instead. Plant the bulbs when soil temperatures are in the 60s or less. This usually occurs around mid-October.
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