Guest column: Gardening tips for September

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While September is still roughly a summer month in Oklahoma, that means cooler fall weather and more rain will soon follow. Even though the fall equinox is the official start of fall on September 22, plants are still growing and need the same care they need all summer long. It’s still almost 100 degrees, and I know I’m really tired of dragging pipes around to water everything, rushing headlong to make things flourish, and keeping control of weed removal; However, what we do in the garden now is extremely important as it determines the success of our spring gardens. September is a good time to do the following:

Watch for promotions at garden centers and nurseries.

Fall is a great time to plant perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, and trees. Even as the air cools, the soil will still be warm so roots can grow and establish before the uncertainties of spring.

Order the spring flowering bulbs as soon as possible.

You want to plant them between Halloween and Thanksgiving each year, but if you wait until then to buy them, they can be picked or gone. You can store them in the refrigerator until ready to plant, and almost all bulbs require about 6 weeks of cold temperatures before planting. Meanwhile, prepare the flower beds by adding compost to improve soil and drainage. The bulbs rot in heavy, waterlogged clay soil. Raised beds with the addition of compost will remedy this situation. Raised beds will also help lavender, rosemary, and succulents to survive through better drainage.

Prepare the houseplants for entry.

Prepare houseplants for winter by putting them in more shade to acclimatize them to a lower light so they don’t go into shock and drop all of their leaves when moved. .

Plant fresh-season vegetables until September.

These include lettuce, radishes, mustard, and spinach. You have until mid-September to plant Swiss chard, garlic and turnips.

Fertilize Bermuda lawns

If necessary, apply pre-emergence to control winter / spring weeds by September 15th.

Do not fertilize trees, shrubs or ornamentals

Don’t do this now as they must start to go dormant and use their energy for root growth and winter survival. Any new tender growth resulting from the application of fertilizer is now susceptible to insect damage and early frost. Grasshoppers are plentiful and they love the delicious, tender, fresh shoots of plants.

Annuals in container plantations need to be fertilized about every 2 weeks with fish emulsion, seaweed extract, compost or manure tea, or a water soluble fertilizer. for the best show until frost.

Transplant spring flowering plants

You can divide and transplant the spring-flowering plants in late September, when it should be cooler and there should be more rain. These include lilies, daylilies, irises, daisies, cannas, violets, gaillardes (hedge flowers), coneflowers, liriopes, and peonies. Don’t plant peonies more than 2 inches deep or they may not bloom. Modify the beds with compost before replanting the divisions.

Do not prune some plants

Do not prune spring flowering trees and shrubs such as forsythia, redbud, flowering quince, mockorange, nine bark, rhododendron, weigela, viburnum, and oakleaf and bigleaf hydrangeas before they flower next spring, as they will bloom on growth this year – old wood.

Have fun with fall containers.

Proven moms, pansies, asters, and ornamental sprouts are always excellent. For more interest, try “Bright Lights” Swiss chard, sedums, pineapple sage, fall sage, ornamental peppers, perovskia (Russian sage) and ornamental grasses. Container gardens are easy and fun. There is no right or wrong, just different. The rule is to have fun and do what you love. Happy gardening!


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