With a break in the August heat, now is the time to prepare the garden for fall. Here are some things I am currently doing in my garden.
- Zinnias, large flowered marigolds, tithonia, petunias and other summer annuals need to have their spent blooms removed to encourage a flush of fall blooms.
- My ginger lilies, because of all the rain, are out of bounds this year. After each stalk’s last bloom dies, I cut them to the ground. Oftentimes small new scapes will appear and set buds. Whether they bloom or not is dependent on the timing of the first freeze.
- All of my florist (mop-head) and oakleaf types of hydrangeas are ready for removal of their dead blooms. Some of the Annabelles, whose green heads still look good, can be left on until they start looking bad. Most of the Limelight’s blooms still look good, but they can be cut as soon as the flowering is finished.
- My biggest problem now is weeds. The ones commonly called damn weed is a real pest this year. Even the tiniest plants can produce seeds. While I have sprayed them with Roundup, I have had little success, so I am trying to hand pull them and get the roots. I also spot sprayed Image on my zoysia to try to control the few weeds that are popping up in my lawn.
- I sent my vegetable garden soil off for a soil test because production has been down this year. It told me a lot. I have to adjust the soil pH and will add some organic matter before I plant my fall garden which is quickly approaching.
- Lots of my perennials have finished blooming but could produce another flush of growth and have beautiful fall blooms. I have lightly cut them back and fertilized with 15-0-15. They should be beautiful again by late September.
- And finally I have slowed cutting my turf to about every 7 to 8 days. Be careful to not scalp the grass which easily happens now. As the weather drys, like it usually does this time of the year, keep it watered. This is the time when many unwatered lawns stress, and that is not good for overwintering.
Cooler weather, no rain, and a bit lower humidity is a great reason to do some of these gardening chores.