days ideal for chores
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[September 01, 2009]
With the wonderful fall weather we've been
having, even in August, the urge to get out and do something is
overwhelming. There are plenty of things to be done, if the body and
soul are willing.
Let's start with the lawn. As mentioned before, the ideal
seeding time is until Sept. 10. Bare soil rates are about 4
pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet and overseeding existing
grass is about half that. This is also an excellent time for
fall lawn fertilizer. Apply enough to get about a pound of
nitrogen per 1,000 square feet (about 8 pounds of 12-12-12).
This fertilizer application will also help trees and shrubs.
Fertilizing and seeding can be done close together, as long as
the fertilizer rates don't get out of hand. Too much salt in
fertilizer can cause seed germination problems. A couple of
weeks from now is also a great time to treat perennial broadleaf
weeds in lawns, but you can't mix this operation with seeding.
You'll have to wait until spring for the weed control operation.
This is also a great time to aerate or dethatch. Grub treatment
time is also upon us, since we wait about a month later to help
with Japanese beetles.
Watering perennials when the
weather is dry should also be on the to-do list. Perennials that
lose leaves each fall are putting their last bit of energy into
the roots this time of year. After returning to dry conditions,
watering is the best way to provide optimum conditions for the
critical fall period. Evergreens are even more critical. It is a
great idea to provide an inch of water each week for all
evergreens until the ground freezes up for the winter.
Evergreens continue to lose water through needles or leaves
throughout the winter. A layer of mulch will help stabilize the
ground temperatures, but wait until soils get cold to apply
mulch. Mulch is intended to prevent wide swings in temperature.
We can also plant spring flowering bulbs. We may be a
little on the early side, but it takes time to plan, obtain and
plant bulbs. It's always better to have a bulb in the ground
than to try to hold them for another growing season if the
weather turns sour on us. Pay particular attention to some of
the less common bulbs or colors. Summer flowering bulbs should
generally be dug after the first killing frost, since they
aren't hardy enough to survive the winter in the ground.
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Keep that garden going. It seems like we have entered the prime
time of the year for many of our garden staples. Tomatoes, squash
and peppers have just hit their main stride in the last couple of
weeks. Pay attention to insects and diseases to keep the plants
productive until frost takes them out. You might even have some
success with planting some leaf lettuce, mustard greens or spinach.
Spinach sometimes doesn't get big enough for harvest in the fall,
but in a mild winter it is ready to roll in the extreme early spring
from your fall planting. Pay particular attention to vining crops
for beetle control. Beetles are rapidly leaving cornfields and
settling on pumpkins and squash. Controlling the beetles will help
prevent the wilt virus that can be spread by them. The vining crops
have also been attacked by powdery mildew it seems. Fungicides such
as Daconil, mancozeb or the organic neem should help. They should
also help the fungal diseases on tomatoes.
A couple of "don'ts" should also be mentioned. It is really a
rotten time of year to prune anything. Pruning spurs new growth and
it will almost assuredly be winterkilled. Also, don't try to control
crabgrass. It is a rapidly dying annual, which means another couple
of weeks will turn it brown anyway. Start your control program
around April 1 next spring with a preventive treatment.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]