As September is coming! | New
“By all these beautiful signs, the days of September are here. With the best weather in summer and the best in fall. Helen Hunt Jackson. “September days have the heat of summer in their briefest hours, but in their lengthening evenings a prophetic breath of autumn.” Rowland E.Robinson. “The leaves are falling, the wind is blowing and the agricultural country is slowly changing from summer cottons to its winter wools.” Henry Beston. “I love September, especially when we’re there.” Willie Stargel. “September is dressed in showy dahlias, splendid marigolds and starry zinnias.” Olive Wendell Holmes. “September has arrived, it is his whose vitality leaps in the fall, whose nature prefers leafless trees and fire in the fireplace.” — Louis MacNeice.
Farewell August because September is upon us and we can’t wait to see what it has in store for us. The transition to fall provides an opportunity to work with your plants, change the landscape, and prepare the site for new planting of herbaceous and woody plant material. As September approaches, your landscape focus should include the following depending on your individual needs.
Birds: Make the necessary preparations to help our feathered friends hunt for food this fall and winter. Start by cleaning up existing feeders and placing them in strategic locations for bird activity and window viewing, which will give you lots of fun from the comfort of your home. Replace bird food as needed to ensure adequate supply for survival. Also left untouched, the dry seed heads on many of your plants are another great way to provide fall and winter food for birds.
Houseplants: Plan to bring houseplants indoors (that have spent the summer outdoors) when temperatures begin to cool. After months of humidity and sufficient light outdoors, they now have to adjust to the drier air and lower light levels inside the house. Proper acclimatization is essential as plants should be slowly moved from outdoors to a holding area for one to two weeks (carport or garage) before moving them indoors. Before leaving their outdoor environment, check each plant for issues such as insect or disease activity, fertilizer deficiencies, and general plant health. The problem is easier to solve outside rather than inside later. Also, thoroughly clean the outside of each pot along the sides and bottom using a garden hose and scrub brush. Use pruners to cut off any root activity coming out of the pot. If the plant is root or pot bound, transplant it to a larger pot outdoors.
Watering: Don’t forget the water! As the weather cools, your landscape may still be exposed to long periods of dry, sunny weather. It is especially important that all newly planted perennials, ground covers, trees and shrubs do not dry out. The strategy is to water deeply (not a light surface application) to establish self-sustaining plants. Plants use less water in cool weather.
Leaves: As the colors of fall approach, we will all appreciate the color of the leaves and the arrangements designed by nature. However, as the fall color takes its course, the leaves will eventually fall from the trees and accumulate all over the ground, both on the lawn and on the flower beds. We must take steps to clean up leaf debris and properly dispose of our collection or recycle through composting. A small price to pay for the beauty and attractiveness of deciduous tree leaves in the fall. Unless, of course, you have a completely natural space that isn’t disturbed, then leave them alone.
Overseeding: Overseeding with cool season grasses is the best practice for getting winter color to your warm season lawn while the host is dormant. While aesthetically beneficial, it also provides a certain competitive edge that can reduce the density of your host turf in the spring. After evaluating turf texture and density, Bermuda grass is easier to overseed than other lawn grasses. Centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, zoysia and paspalums are not as conducive to overseeding. It is very important to understand the end result on your host lawn in the spring and next season. Overseeding bermudagrass can be effectively accomplished using mixes or blends of ryegrass and other cool-season grasses between mid-October and late November. An alternative approach to overseeding for winter coloring your lawn is the application of color pigments that match the natural color of your host grass. These pigments will last all season with one or two applications and are turf and environmentally friendly.
Perennials: Fall is the best season to plant perennials such as iris, daylilies, and Shasta daisies. If established perennials have become overcrowded, dig them up and divide them. Finish planting and transplanting as soon as possible to allow enough time for plants to establish before cold weather arrives. The first killing frost usually occurs around November 15, but varies each year (even until December or later).
Planting: Planted now, container and B&B grown trees and shrubs (in balls and burlap) will have plenty of time to establish themselves before the cold weather really begins. Next spring, the plants will be off to a good start, as the roots will be established and the plants’ energy can be expended on the production of leaves and flowers.
Root pruning: Young trees and shrubs to be moved this winter should be root pruned now. Insert a spade into the soil in a circular pattern around the plant (18 to 24 inches from the trunk depending on the size of the graft) with minimal soil disturbance from the rootstock. This cuts the roots and encourages new feeder roots, minimizing pain and stress during the transplanting process. Maintain optimal cultural practices, including adequate watering.
As you approach fall landscaping, think in terms of native and sustainable plants. Be on the lookout for children playing and cyclists riding the streets and roads of our communities. Watch out for school buses and obey their stop signs and other signals when transporting our children to and from school and home. Remember to share the road safely with motorbikes and bicycles. And when you receive blessings, always give them and share them with others. Happy Labor Day weekend! Have a blessed and safe month of September.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also give us all things with him? Romans 8:32. “I love the Lord. He heard my voice; He heard my call for mercy. Because he listened to me, I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2. “As each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to all others.” Romans 12:4-5. “You will keep in perfect peace the one whose spirit is firm, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3. Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in him whom he has sent. John 6:29.
Seagle is a Sustainability Auditor, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International) LLC, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Professor Emeritus for Teaching and L Learning (University System of Georgia) and Short-Term Missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Address your inquiries to [email protected]