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With fall seeming to arrive early, there are
several things that could occupy your time. Let's start with grass seedings. A week ago would have probably been better for seeding new
grass, but what difference does a few days make? Maybe no
difference, and maybe a big one. If you are still interested in
trying to get some new grass seed put down, don't delay too long.
You will need up to four weeks to get bluegrass germinated and then
an additional period of time to get it sufficiently mature before
things freeze up this fall.
Figure about 4 pounds of a blend of Kentucky bluegrass, fine
fescue (red or chewings) and perennial ryegrass per 1,000 square
feet of area for bare ground. If overseeding, cut the rate in
half. Go easy with fertilizer if you aren't tilling it in ahead
of time, since the salt content of the fertilizer may affect the
small grass seeds.
The time frame for grass seedings would
also apply to operations such as dethatching and core aeration.
With skyrocketing populations of soybean aphids, we will have
a corresponding increase in the numbers of predators of aphids.
This means ladybugs, syrphid flies and other insects that eat
aphids will drastically increase in number.
The problem comes when the soybeans mature, the aphids die
and the predators look for other food sources. This means they
come to your house and then become nuisance pests. Of course,
they will clean out most of the aphids in your flowers and other
plants around the house as well, but that may be of little
consolation when your porch light has a million Asian lady
beetles in it.
Make sure seals and screens fit tightly, and you can do an
area spray with a flying insect killer. The vacuum cleaner
remains one of the best tools to use in the home.
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Leaves have been falling for quite a while. They will fall more
rapidly as the days progress. Try to keep them mowed or picked up to
avoid deep piles.
On some trees, particularly oaks, this premature leaf fall is,
well, premature. It usually indicates disease problems, and in the
case of pin oaks, may indicate an eventually terminal disease. Many
pin oaks are being infected with bacterial leaf scorch, which causes
leaves to look like they have been through a drought and drop early.
This is caused by a bacteria plugging up the tissues in trunks and
limbs. It is probably transmitted by leafhoppers or treehoppers, but
little is known about the disease.
There have been no successful treatments in the north-central
states, but experts are still working on it. There have been some
successful treatments in the South, but those same treatments have
struck out here.
Remember to let perennial flowers retain their leaves as long as
they are green. These leaves are making food for storage in the
roots, bulbs or crowns for next year. Premature mowing will reduce
the food storage and could lead to weak plants or even death. When
the leaves turn brown, they can then be removed. It's too early yet,
but remember to leave a couple of inches on things like mums. There
is quite a bit of food stored in the above-ground portions of these
types of plants.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]