Gar­den­ing Prog­nos­ti­cat­ing

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By Ricky Ens­ley [email protected]

Trees and shrubs will prob­a­bly lose their leaves early this year due to the drought.

So long as they turn color and fall nor­mally, do not worry too much about it. De­lay the process as long as pos­si­ble with reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing. If the leaves brown sud­denly and do not fall, the tree is in trou­ble.

Of course, all you can do is wa­ter the tree very well (wet­ting the soil 18 inches deep) once ev­ery week or so. There are not usu­ally any pests that are killing them – just drought.

As we ap­proach fall, we need to slow down cer­tain gar­den jobs. Do not prune or fer­til­ize shrubs af­ter Sept. 1.

The new growth this pro­duces will be too ten­der to sur­vive the cold of win­ter. Do not fer­til­ize lawns with ni­tro­gen con­tain­ing fer­til­iz­ers af­ter Sept. 15.

This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for cen­tipede lawns. They need wa­ter now – not fer­til­izer.

Some peo­ple fer­til­ize their lawns in early win­ter with fer­til­iz­ers con­tain­ing potas­sium. They feel this im­proves har­di­ness. There is no ev­i­dence that us­ing these in a well – fer­til­ized lawn re­duces win­ter in­jury. In other words, it does not hurt, but there is also no ev­i­dence that it helps. Just do not use fer­til­iz­ers con­tain­ing ni­tro­gen af­ter Septem­ber.

An ex­cep­tion to this rule is lawns that have not been fer­til­ized well or suf­fered badly from drought. You should wa­ter drought stricken lawns well, at least once a week, with three quar­ters to one inch of wa­ter.

Then fer­til­ize them with a fer­til­izer high in potas­sium. Potas­sium is the last num­ber in the fer­til­izer’s anal­y­sis. Se­lect one with a high last num­ber like 5-10-15.

You can move irises and daylilies now, but I would con­sider wait­ing un­til we get a rain. If you move them now, wa­ter them well. Till the soil deeply, adding lime if needed, and add or­ganic mat­ter to im­prove the soil. Ap­ply lit­tle if any fer­til­izer.

You do not want them to grow now; just de­velop roots for next year. Use a soil sam­ple for best re­sults.

Learn this les­son if you miss all the oth­ers. Fall is the best time to plant! This se­cret of suc­cess­ful gar­den­ers will help your plants sur­vive and pros­per.

Plan now, pre­pare beds and plant when tem­per­a­tures de­crease and fall rains be­gin.

Fall and win­ter is the best time to plant trees, shrubs and peren­ni­als. When pre­par­ing beds, do not use fer­til­iz­ers with a lot of ni­tro­gen in them un­less the plant is a win­ter grow­ing plant.

These en­cour­age top growth which we do not want. Cooler tem­per­a­tures pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for roots to grow and the plant to get es­tab­lished.

You can use fer­til­iz­ers now that are low in ni­tro­gen and high in phos­pho­rus and potas­sium which can en­cour­age root growth.

Ricky Ens­ley

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