Gardening Chores Now For Success

When bearded iris foliage starts yellowing cut back to in fan shape at where the leaf bases fan out

When bearded iris foliage starts yellowing, cut back in a fan shape where the leaf bases fan out.

To have good looking fall mums that are not leggy cut back hard now

To have good looking fall mums that are not leggy, cut back hard now.

Most of us are watering like crazy to keep our gardens alive. But there are still many things we need to be doing to keep our gardens looking good until frost.

  • Mum and fall flowering salvia need to be cut back now so their stems will not fall over from being too tall in fall when they bloom.
  • Bearded iris foliage that is yellowing needs cutting back in a fan shape, and they can be divided at that time if you want to move or share some with a friend.
  • As daylilies finish blooming and their flower stems turn brown, pull them out of the plants to make them look better and groom yellow leaves. They also can be dug and moved now.
  • As our colorful hydrangeas finish blooming, now is the time to prune them so you can be assured pruning will not decrease the number of blooms next year.
  • If you want fall tomatoes, plant them now. Smaller fruited ones tend to do better with the amount of dry weather we are having. Be sure and mulch them heavily at planting.
  • As soon as we have rain, most warm season grasses like Bermuda and zoysia benefit from a fertilization to help them maintain good color and healthy growth until frost.
  • It is a real tendency to not remove dead or diseased plants out of the vegetable garden. This needs to be done on a regular basis. Do not compost the diseased plants, but dispose of them in other ways.
  • Annual containers which are being watered daily really need fertilization. Probably the easiest and most effective way to do this is to liquid feed them. I think every two to three weeks of liquid feed will be plenty.
  • Keep flower borders or displays looking good by replacing the plants with others. Garden centers all over town have plenty of plants that will add fresh blossoms or foliage to your tired bloomed out areas.

But most of all remember watering is critical, and make it as effective as possible by watering early in the morning or late afternoon. Some of us have been two to three weeks without significant rainfall, and that means it is dry.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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