September……summer is reluctant to give way to fall — a mixture of undecided summer and
fall days calls for the continued summer watering and weeding, while the busy gardener makes plans for fall gardening.
- Caladiums – Dig and Store. As the leaves dry in the fall following night temperatures of 50 degrees and below, lift the individual caladium clumps and place in a warm, dry,
well-ventilated shed or garage with good light for 10 days to two weeks. It is best to remove as much of the soil as possible when lifting as this will hasten the drying and
curing process. Do not wash or wet the tubers. After the drying period, remove the dead leaves. Dust the tubers thoroughly with a combination of Captan and Sevin for protection against insects and disease in storage. Hand or store the treated bulbs in nylon stockings in a cool, dark, dry location, protected from freeze.
- Pansies and Violas. Prepare beds now for planting pansies and violas. Both like a sunny well drained soil. Obtain healthy plants and plant in October and November.
- Spring bulbs begin in the fall. Bulb beds must be well drained and well prepared prior to planting to insure good results in the spring. Prepare spring bulb beds now, working in ample amounts of humus and sharp sand if needed to insure a loose pliable soil. Select bulbs to be planted in October and November.
- Continue to water. Continue to water plants as they go into fall. Many flowering trees and shrubs have developed flower buds for next year’s blooms, and if a lack of water
exists, poor blooms may be expected. Water fruiting plants such as hollies, pyracantha, etc. to maintain a good berry crop. Remove dead wood from plants which have suffered ,from the heat, and mulch around the root areas to conserve moisture and to protect the plant for winter.
- Divide, transplant and establish perennial. If you have not done so, September is a good time to dig and divide overcrowded bearded iris, daylilies, Liriope, perennial phlox and groundcover plants. An early fall planting will allow the plants to become well established prior to winter’s cold. Water frequently after transplanting to prevent drying. Moisten soils prior to planting and prevent the plants form drying out until they are established.
- Begin to prepare houseplants for over-wintering indoors. Repot overgrown plants and feed established pots with a complete liquid houseplant fertilizer to encourage that last flush of growth prior to bringing indoors. Plant fall annuals Consider planting some of the following annual seeds in open ground during September. Be patient — you may not see the results of seeding until next spring. The time to plant is now.
Bluebonnet Baby’s Breath Corn flower
Blanket flower Larkspur Oriental Poppy
Poppy California Annual Phlox Wildflowers
- Spray Roses. Spray roses at regular intervals for blackspot and mildew control. Water often as fall blooms occur.
- Make cuttings of geranium. Cut 5 to 7 inch stems. Allow to “cure” or ends to seal off by leaving exposed to open air for 2-3 days. Strip lower foliage and pot in good
potting soil. Keep in shade, and do not overwater.
- Pruning. Do not prune or cut back spring flowering trees and shrubs as you will be removing potential spring blooms.
- Compost. Start a compost pile to receive the leaves of fall.
- Gibberallic Acid on Camellias. Applying gibberellic acid to camellia buds in September and early October will produce most dramatic results. On many varieties the
flower size may be increased significantly and the time of bloom made much earlier.
- Storing leftover seeds. Almost every gardener will have a few packets of vegetable and flower seeds left from spring and summer planting, or they may have collected seed from some of their favorite plants. Although old seed often has a lower germination rate as well as reduced vigor, many gardeners have difficulty convincing themselves to throw it away. Storing it under the proper conditions can greatly increase the storage life of most seeds. The seed should be air dry and placed in glass containers with air-tight lids and kept in a refrigerator or cool area at a temperature range of 35 – 50 degrees F. When saving seed from plants in the garden, remember that many of the new improved
varieties are hybrids and there is often little chance that the offspring will resemble the parent.
- Cleanup. Clean established garden beds and replenish mulch materials where needed. Remove faded annuals and cut back perennial that have finished flowering.
- Mums. Be sure to stake mums that have gotten too tall to reduce wind and rain damage. Make new mum selections for the garden while in bloom. Keep watered as blooms
- Plan for new plantings. Don’t forget to make an inventory of landscape needs in your landscape so you are ready to make selections as soon as new nursery stock is received in your favorite nursery or garden center. Select shade trees and shrubs for a late fall and winter planting.
- Watch for scale insects. Many of the eggs hatch at this time and the young crawlers are never more vulnerable that at this stage. Malathion, Diazinon or Orthene give good
control at this stage. Be sure to read the label and follow instructions. Scale often appear on gardenia, camellias, hollies, euonymus, azaleas, ligustrum, houseplants, etc.
- Fall fertilization. Research has proven that fall feeding is very beneficial on lawns and ornamental plants. Root systems as well as future flower buds continue to develop in
winter. A 3-1-2 ratio such as 15-5-10 will help overwinter lawns and ornamental plants and have them off to a good growing start come spring. Feed azaleas lightly now for
their final feeding until after blooms in spring.