September Gardening Tips

sun flowerSeptember is back-to-school time.  Just as you wouldn’t send your kids off to school unprepared, neither should you ignore the needs of your garden as it heads into fall.  Gardens need special care to help prepare them for winter and for the next growing season.

In the vegetable garden, harvest onions once tops have fallen over and the necks have started to dry down and shrink just above the bulb.  Pull up bygone plantings of beans, broccoli, and other crops that have been harvested. Removal of crop  residues is important to disease and insect prevention as it takes away the places where pests and diseases can overwinter.  Remove any weeds you missed earlier before they set seed and cause problems for the next growing season.

If frost threatens, cover tomatoes, peppers, and salad crops with a double layer of plastic. Don’t worry about your carrots,  turnips, and parsnips. They’ll actually taste sweeter after being exposed to temperatures between 28 and 34  degrees F. For harvest in early winter, cover these root crops with 18 inches of straw, hay, or dry leaves. This will keep the ground from freezing so deeply and make it easier to dig them up.

Cover crops are a great way to hold precious topsoil in place over the winter, and they add organic matter, too.  An  excellent fall cover crop for home gardens in northern New York is oats. This crop can be sown anytime in September.  It is inexpensive and will reliably winter-kill so next spring all that remains is the dead residue, which is much easier to incorporate into the soil than rye.

After removing residues, rough up the soil surface then lightly rake in at least four or five pounds of oats per 1,000 square  feet.   Higher rates will give an even thicker cover crop, which helps with weed suppression.  Use certified seed or  triple-cleaned feed oats to assure that the seed is free from weed contamination.

In flower gardens, clean up residue from plants infected with powdery mildew.  The disease will overwinter on stems and  foliage, creating a source of spores for new infections next year.  Rake dead leaves from under rose bushes.  Decaying  leaves may provide a conducive breeding ground for fungus and insects that will prey on next year’s roses.

For an instant garden and a blast of color as summer turns into fall, fill your flowerbeds and empty spaces in your  landscape with chrysanthemums.  They come in a wide range of autumn colors from white, yellow, and gold to bronze and maroon.  Lighter colors tend to bloom earlier than the darker reds and purples, so select different colors for a longer display of color.

What’s nice about mums, in addition to the long bloom time, is that they can be transplanted while in full bloom.  Just be  sure to water thoroughly until they become established.

Mums also work well as container plants to decorate patios, porches, and decks.  Go easy on the water, however, to  prevent root rot.  Potted mums probably will not do well inside as lower light levels often result in yellowing leaves and  droopy flowers.

Flowering kale and cabbage also make nice fall plants to replace annual flowers.  Both will turn a beautiful color with the cold and will last until covered with snow.  Or try fall asters,   They provide good color, and many are hardy as well.

This is a good time to evaluate your autumn landscape to see where new plants can be added next spring and summer to  provide fall color.  Asters, perennial salvias, and some of the sedums (including the popular ‘Autumn Joy’ with its attractive  pink flowers) are good choices for long-lasting color at this time of the year.  .

This is a great time to plant shrubs and trees since their roots will continue to grow into November, giving them plenty of  time to get well-established before winter. You might find some good clearance sales this time of year, but don’t let price dictate what you buy!!!! Leftovers at the end of the season can often be just that.  Poor quality means they might require more  help to survive. At the Nursery we usually do not have fall sales because we upsize and grow our trees and shrubs on for the following year. If at the end of the season we find we have an overabundance of certain plants, then we will put them on sale. We do have a clearance area in the back all year which you  are always welcome to browse through if you are looking for a deal.

With the cooler days of early fall, grass growth speeds up (and slows down later in fall with colder temperatures), so keep  mowing as long as it is growing.  Set the blades to cut grass at least two inches high.

It’s okay to fertilize grass in the early fall.  By the same token, late season fertilizer applications will help herbaceous  perennials overwinter better.

Start a new compost pile, adding grass clippings, spent annuals, and leaves that you’ve raked.  Leaves are a very good  source of carbon, and they help to soak up excess water, so you may want to shred some with the lawnmower and stockpile in a garbage can for composting food wastes over the winter.

Shredding leaves will help them break down more quickly and make them more absorbent. Weeds from the garden also  may be added to the pile, provided they are not full of seed heads. Even though composting can kill off weed seeds, most home compost piles do not get hot enough to assure this.

Once you are done with all this its time to take a break!!!! attend a fall festival or late season agricultural fair , go apple picking.or start looking for that perfect pumpkin!!!!!



Repairing Drought Stricken Lawns

bad lawn

Many homeowners with drought-damaged lawns have some decisions to make about how to repair them now that it’s the season, and it mostly comes down to answering this question: Do I reseed, or will fertilizing be enough to recover my lawn?

First, the problem:

Most grass species in upstate New York are cool-season grasses,  They like cooler weather with adequate water.

That’s not what lawns got this summer, when rain was scarce and temperatures were often in the 90s. Many lawns sustained damage or died from the heat and dry conditions.

Here is some advice on how to handle that drought damaged lawn:

* Seed or fertilize? It depends on the size of the damaged area. If an area between clumps of surviving grass is larger than your hand print, then it probably needs to be reseeded.

Damaged areas that are smaller could be treated with fertilizer to encourage growth and recovery. When buying fertilizer, look on the label for a high percentage of nitrogen content. That’s the nutrient that helps plants grow the most.

*Seeding: Types of seed to buy will depend on whether the area is sunny, shady or a mix of both.

Fine fescues, such as creeping fescue, are good for shady areas. Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue are ideal for lawns with full sun. Tall fescue has gained popularity over the last few years in that it keeps its green color longer during drought  A mix of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass works well in areas of high traffic..

Avoid  buying products stating that the seed establishes itself quickly. Such seeds typically have a lot of annual ryegrass, which is not cold-hardy or tolerant of heat and drought.It is not a long-term species for your lawn, Just be real careful when you’re buying seed to make sure you get the right turf species.

Here at the Nursery we carry a line of grass seed which is manufactured by Prefered Seed in Buffalo NY. It contains NO annual grass seed.  We have Summer Green, which is for drought and wear areas, Ie: over septics and high traffic areas. We also have a Trio Supreme mix for sunny areas and a Shady Supreme for your shadier areas.

* Site preparation for seeding: Remove debris and patches of dead grass with a garden rake to ensure that the new seed contacts the soil. If you can get the seed down to that area, it will have a much better chance of getting established.

In addition, aeration is a good way to prepare lawns for seeding, and you also get the added benefits of reducing soil compaction and improving rooting and water infiltration.

* Starter fertilizers: Such fertilizers are high in phosphorus – good for new lawns established from seed. It helps a newly seeded lawn to develop its root system and grow strong.

If we haven’t answered all your questions and you need a little more help, feel free to give us a call or stop in and we will be happy to help you get that lawn back in shape !!!


Beer and Chili Fest 2016!!!!!!!

beer and chili 4Yes We are doing it again!! October 2nd from 1:00 PM To 4:00 PM. The Chili Competition is on!!!!! Bring in your best chili and if you win you could go home with a $100.00 gift certificate. Don’t feel like making a Chili then come on over, Watch the Bills vs Patriots game, taste some beers and help judge! Everyone is welcome and there is no charge but if you would like to leave a donation for the food shelf while you are here it would be greatly appreciated. Just a nice afternoon with friends. Any questions give us a call at 585 637 4497