10 Things to do in September…

As summer winds down, it’s time to think about getting ready for next spring!  That means cleaning up your garden and doing some planning. Here are a few chores and projects that you can do this month to help keep your garden healthy and looking good for the rest of the season. 1.  In the fall, when soil temperatures drop below 60 degrees, plant spring flowering bulbs including tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, dwarf irises  and crocus.  Remember to add bulb fertilizer to the planting hole when you prepare the soil. 2.  Fall mums may be planted now for nice late season color. 3.  Perennials that have crowded or overgrown their space should be divided or moved to a new spot in the garden.  New perennials can also be planted this month. 4.  Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs—they will have a chance to get established before spring.  Provide water until the ground freezes. 5.  Stop fertilizing trees and flowering shrubs to allow them to harden off before winter. 6.  The best part of growing fruits and vegetables and herbs is harvesting and eating them!  If you have been fortunate enough to produce too much, consider sharing your bounty with friends, neighbors or one of many local food pantries.  Extend the harvest by canning, freezing or drying your produce. 7.  When the fall rains begin, fertilize your lawn with a slow-release fertilizer (3-2-1) ratio. 8.  September is one of the best months for seeding or sodding new lawns. 9.  It is a good idea to mark your perennials with permanent tags, so that you know where and...

Leaf Drop

ASK RON: We know by looking at this summer’s weather and by looking into our gardens that our friends in the plant world are running ahead of schedule. Could this be why we are noticing so many falling leaves?  Is this simply an early autumn?  Let’s ask Ron Lardie, Garden Center Manager (and plant expert) here at Knapp Valley Gardens. “Leaf -drop” is a naturally occurring phenomenon—actually it is an “abscission.”  Plants are optimists. In the spring, if they have plenty of food and water, they will thrive and produce lush leaves and flowers.  When the weather becomes dry later in the summer, the plants need to conserve energy and water. They begin to get rid of “excess baggage” by dropping their leaves.  Usually the inner and lower leaves of plants or trees drop first. We have started to notice leaf-drop on  black walnut trees, birch trees, some maple trees, (especially Norway) and willows.  The leaves are usually yellow or green when they drop.  Leaf-drop is part of the tree’s natural cycle.  Don’t be concerned—just rake up the leaves and know that this is one of Mother’s Nature’s survival...
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