Archive for the ‘Success Tip’ Category
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all thru the yard, the branches were bare – the ground frozen hard. The ‘Knock Out’ roses were dormant, the others mulched all around, and the evergreens had been sprayed with ‘WiltStop’ to keep them winter safe and sound.
The perennials were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of ‘Espoma’s Garden Food’ danced in their heads. The newly planted shrubs had been soaked by the hose
To settle their roots for a long winter’s doze.
When out on the drive there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, knocking over my herb planted ‘AeroGarden’ as I threw up the sash.
I looked across the lawn where the new fallen snow, had covered the turf type tall fescues growing below. When what to my wondering eyes should appear? A gardening truck in my driveway, filled with gardening gear!
Saint Nick was the driver, the jolly old elf, and he winked as he said, “I’m a gardener myself. I’ve brought garden tools, a moisture meter, a ‘Ross Root Feeder’, too, a compost bin, Wet and Forget, pruners, and Bionic garden gloves just for you!
An ‘Adjust O Rake’ and some‘TLC’ grass seed to sow, herb seeds for our friend Rita and bug sprays for ole Buggy Joe. Here’s ‘Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra’ and Fertilome’s ‘Tree and Shrub Insect Control’, some ‘Plant Tone’, some ‘Miracle Gro’, and ‘MoleScram’ to repel that mole.
Here’s ‘DeerScram’, ‘Repels All’, and ‘Liquid Fence’ to keep those hungry deer at bay, some sulfur, soaps, oils, and ‘Espoma’s’ fertilizers for gardening the ‘all natural way’. A soil thermometer, a Bar-bee house for native bees, and here’s a jar of Unker’s to rub on your chapped and sore knees!
To make your gardening easy, ‘Sucker Stopper’ and ‘Over the Top’, ‘Roundup’, ‘Preen’, ‘Corn Gluten Meal’…man these products really rock! Here’s ‘Pine Soil Conditioner’, ‘Milorganite’ and composted manure, a green Christmas year-round, these garden gifts will ensure!”
Then Jolly Saint Nick, having emptied the load, started his truck and took to the road. And I heard him exclaim through the motor’s loud hum, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Green Thumb!” -Author Unknown (Natorp revised 2012)
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
November Gardening Checklist-Keep planting those trees and shrubs.
-Keep watering newly planted plants as needed until just before Christmas.
-Plant spring flowering bulbs. Don’t forget to plant a few in pots to bring indoors next spring.
-Plan and plant Paperwhite and Amaryllis bulbs for holiday colors as well as throughout the winter season.
-Check stored summer bulbs for any rotting and remove affected bulbs / tubers.
-Inspect tropical plants brought indoors for insects. Rinse off plants every 2-3 weeks to help keep indoor bugs under control. Decrease watering and fertilizing for the winter months.
-Set up a grow light or fluorescent light and grow greens / herbs indoors.
-Empty unused containers and store away. Keep potting mixes for next years use.
-Complete raking and cleanup of debris and dead foliage in the landscape beds. Clean up left over fallen fruits and veggies. Pull any existing weeds.
-Collect extra leaves from lawns and beds, grind up, and pitch into the compost pile. Also use finely ground leaves for tilling into the garden soil.
-Keep ponds netted and clean out debris that makes its way into the ponds.
-Check gutters for late leaf buildup.
-Remove hoses from spigots but keep handy in case watering needs to be done. Store away chemicals subject to freezing. Clean garden tools.
-Do not winter mulch roses until soil temperatures have reached into the 30’s. Mulch strawberry plants.
-Keep mowing until the lawn stops growing. At that time, give the lawn its final feeding with a high N fertilizer.
-Tie multi-stemmed arborvitae together in the middle of the plant to prevent snow and ice separating the stems (panty hose works great).
-Late November / December, spray evergreens with WiltStop for winter protection.
-Take your mower and have it serviced – including sharpening the blades!
-Feed the birds and make sure they have a source of water.
-Order next year’s seed catalogs so you’ll have some great reading and inspiration over the winter months.
Thanksgiving Forecast – Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190 degrees. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder. During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy. A weight watch and indigestion warning will have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34 degrees in the refrigerator. Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.
[The American Poultry Association recognizes 8 types of turkeys – the bronze, Narragansett, bourbon red, black, slate, royal palm, Beltsville small white and white Holland, which is the most commonly, raised turkey.]
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Let’s Get Composting! Composting is a practical and convenient way to handle yard trimmings such as leaves, excess grass, chipped brush, plant cuttings, etc, and it’s a better option than sending this yard waste to the landfills. The results of your composting efforts will one of the best soil amendments that no money can buy – gardening gold! By combining your yard trimmings and other clean yard or vegetable wastes with soil or garden fertilizer (synthetic or natural), keeping the pile properly moistened and turned, the compost pile begins to heat and cook as the bacteria and fungi break down the ingredients. It’s almost like a science project, and the compost equation is: Carbon + Nitrogen + Water + Air = COMPOST!
What can I compost? –Leaves, grass clippings, plant refuse, wood chips, sod, livestock manures, vegetative kitchen scraps, weeds, straw, pine needles, dead plants, aquarium water / algae and plants, some newspapers, wood ash, egg shells, coffee grounds and lot’s more. Stay away from meat, bones, dairy products, cat / dog feces, cooking oils, things sprayed with pesticides, even insect and diseased plants. NOTE: Although grass clippings can be added to the compost pile (and make a great addition), return them back to the soil / turf where they belong. Clippings returned to the soil / turf can generate as much as 25% of your lawn’s total fertilizer needs. So don’t bag it; return those clippings back to the turf (unless you absolutely need to add clippings to the compost pile)!
Where should my compost pile be located? – Find an out of sight area that is well drained, away from tree roots, not in the shade, and accessible with a garden hose. Remove any sod underneath so the pile will be in direct contact with the soil.
Do I need a compost bin? – Composting does not require a bin, but they do help to keep the pile neat and easier to handle. Bins need to be at least 3×3x3’ to heat properly. A 5×5x5’ is a much nicer size to work with. Ready made bins are available, or can be made with concrete blocks, chicken wire, fencing, wooden slats, etc. The sides must be designed to allow proper air flow to the pile. You may even consider the compost tumblers (best for smaller yards) for ease of turning the pile.
How do I creating the compost pile? – There are many methods to building a compost pile, including simply piling up the yard waste and letting Mother Nature do her thing. It may take longer, but eventually, the waste will break down. But here are a few ways to speed up the process and get that pile “cooking”. Layer the materials you’ll be using in your compost pile. 6-8 inches of materials, a little fertilizer (synthetic or natural), some garden soil, moisten, layer again, and again until reaching the 3-5’ height. Now it’s up to you to help monitor proper moisture levels as the composting begins. Turning the pile will begin about one week after the initial pile is made. Move the inside of the pile to the outside. When your pile is really cooking, it will heat to 140-160 degrees in the middle! Your finished compost will be dark in color, crumbly in nature, and have an ‘earthy’ smell. The pile should be reduced to 1/3 to ½ its original size. And yes, the process will be a bit slower during the winter season.
Composting Tips – If the compost has a bad smell, turn it to provide more air. If the center is dry, moisten and turn the pile. If the compost is damp and warm only in the middle, the pile is too small. If the pile is damp and sweet smelling but still won’t heat up, add nitrogen. And remember, yard waste will compost quicker, when finely ground. Good luck! (For more information, visit ohioline.osu.edu / Composting at Home.)
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
As summer ends, and the regular gardening season begins to wind down, there are timely garden chores that need to be done in your yard and garden. At the top is providing good soil moisture for your larger trees and evergreens, landscape shrubs, perennials and lawn, as they go into the fall and winter. If your yard receives less than 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, you need to supplement. Good moisture in the soil as well as in the plants is a very important part of how well your plants will make it through the winter and into next spring. And that means watering until the ground freezes. Here’s that fall checklist. Hope it helps keep you on pace, as this season winds down.
___Late August and early September is the best time for core aerating, seeding, and applying a starter fertilizer to your new seed, applying the first fall feeding of the lawn, and if needed, total lawn renovation. Timing for feeding and core aerating can continue on into and thru October if needed. Seeding in October may or may not be successful, depending on the weather, but can be done.
___Plant fall colors such as mums, asters, pansies, cold hardy annuals, ornamental grasses, late – blooming perennials, ornamental cabbage and kale, etc. Change out the summer annuals in your containers for these fall bloomers.
___Dig and divide most spring and early summer flowering perennials as needed. Late summer (August thru Sept.) is the time for iris and peonies.
___Bring tropical plants that have been outside all summer, indoors, before night temperatures reach below the 50’s. Acclimate them in the shade for 10 days before bringing indoors. Then, be sure to inspect and treat for insects and other critter before bringing them indoors. Check in the pots and soil for hitch-hikers as well!
___Apply Preen (or Espoma’s Corn Gluten) in the fall to help prevent winter annuals from germinating (chickweed, henbit, purslane) in landscape beds.
___Continue to remove all dead foliage from perennials and clean up left over annuals and veggie plants. Cut them off and leave the roots. They will break down and add organic matter back to the soil. Place disease free dead foliage in the compost pile.
___Start a compost pile; it doesn’t take much space. Today’s yard debris can become tomorrow’s garden gold as a soil amendment. Grass clippings, finely ground leaves, small sticks, vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, spent flowers and foliage, etc, can all be added to the compost pile.
___Clean up areas around fruiting trees and plants to get rid of fallen fruits, diseased leaves and branches, etc, for a cleaner start next spring.
___Start (or pot from outdoors) herbs for growing indoors over the winter.
___Keep those leaves from accumulating on the lawn, especially newly seeded lawns. In mature lawns, feel free to return some of those leaves back to the soil by mowing them into finer pieces. Grass clippings and finely ground leaves actually creates thin layer composting right there in the turf! Be cautious to not over apply finely ground leaves to the established turf. Too much can be a bad thing.
___Check for cracks and crevices, torn or loose screens, anywhere that winter invading insects can get into the house, and seal those up! For added protection, create an insect barrier around the foundation with an insecticide.
___Cover water gardens, ground cover and new seeded areas with nylon netting to keep leaves and debris out, and makes it easier for you to collect the leaves!
___Keep planting trees and shrubs. As long as the soil is workable and the weather is good, you can plant all through the rest of the year. Fall is thee best time for planting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, roses, lawns, etc. Water newly planted trees and shrubs as needed until we get into consistently cold weather. Also check soil moisture between foundation plants and the foundation. If that area is dry, water.
___Protect younger trees (3 inch trunk diameter or smaller) from deer damage (bucks rubbing) with trunk protectors.
___Protect deer browse susceptible plants with DeerScram / Liquid Fence / Repels All, etc. Also consider nylon netting coverage..
___Transplant trees and shrubs and perennials that need to be moved in the yard.
___Expect your evergreens to shed inner needled during the fall. It’s a normal process. But be sure to keep them watered going thru the fall season.
___Do last minute ‘hand trimming’ of evergreens, tree limbs, etc. late fall if needed (plants over grown in their location), but save most hard or severe pruning for late winter / spring. Pruning spring flowering trees and shrubs in the fall will reduce or eliminate spring flowers, so prune after flowering to preserve spring flowers.
___Plant spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, anemones, alliums, etc. Plant several in pots for bringing indoors early next spring. October thru November is the best time for planting spring bulbs.
___Fall (October) is the best time to go after those broadleaf weeds in the landscape and lawns. Using a weed killer in the fall works better as the weeds are taking in nutrients and storing them in their roots for winter, so they take in the weed killer as well. Spot treat the weeds as needed. Remember, if you have new grass; make sure it has been mowed at least 3 times before applying a weed killer.
___Dig, clean and store summer bulbs (cannas, tuberous begonias, gladiolas, caladiums, etc.) in a cool dark place for replanting next year. Let the light early frosts kill the tops, then dig and store away.
___Keep mowing the lawn on a regular basis (change directions each time you mow) until the lawn has stopped growing. For the last 2 cuts, feel free to lower your mower one notch (this is optional – not required). When the lawn has stopped growing for the season, mow it one last time, and feed with a high N fertilizer. Then, go have your mower serviced, and the blades sharpened!
___Gather frost sensitive fruits and veggies before Jack Frost takes them out!
___Till the garden this fall. Exposed soils freeze and thaw over the winter and helps to break up that heavy soil. Add a layer of compost, pine soil conditioner, manure, or finely ground leaves and grass clippings before you till. Fall is the best time to apply most soil amendments.
___Feed the trees in late fall if needed. Vertical mulching or soil injection with a Ross Root feeder works great. If feeding evergreens, wait until late fall and use ½ normal rate. Spring is good for feeding evergreens.
___Feed the birds, and clean your feeders if it hasn’t been done recently. Make sure your birds have a source of water over the winter, as well as landscaping for the birds, including evergreens, plants with seeds or berries, and thicker growing shrubs.
___Have your soil tested. Many adjustments can be made this fall and early next spring.
___Clean, oil and properly store all garden tools when the season is over. Also, drain and coil all hoses and store where they won’t freeze. Properly store all chemicals to keep them from freezing.
___Empty or properly store containers and planters to prevent freezing and damages to the pots. If you are overwintering planted pots, move them to unheated garages, sheds, window wells, etc, after they have gone dormant and the temperatures have gotten consistently cold. Keep these plants cold to remain dormant all winter. Water once per month.
___Clean out those gutters and down spouts to prevent ice clogs during the winter.
___Brighten your holidays by planting amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs. They take 6 weeks or so to flower, so plan accordingly. Plant them on staggered times to have colors all winter long.
___Spray evergreens (as needed) with WiltStop for greater winter protection. Do this later in the fall. You can also spray rose canes for added winter protection.
___Do not protect roses for the winter until late in the year, after the plants have gone dormant and the soil is close to or frozen. Reduce long branches as needed, but save serious pruning for next spring.
___Winter mulching should not be done until the ground is frozen, or at least down into the lower 40’s or colder. And remember to keep mulch away from the bottom of tree trunks, and for critter protection away from the base of most landscape plants.
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Tropical plants make a wonderful addition to the deck, patio and even the landscape during the summer season. In general, these are heat loving plants and will perform (and flower in many cases) quite nicely during the hot summers. But once fall arrives, what do you do with these cold sensitive plants? You could kiss them goodbye and let the fall frosts kill them off. But many gardeners would like to give them a shot keeping them alive indoors over the winter. And to be honest, this takes space indoors, your time and patience, and a bit of trial and error (prepare to possibly lose a few plants). What works for one may not work for another. Your indoor conditions may not be conducive for overwintering tropical plants. Nevertheless, if you want to give it a try, here are a few tips for you.
Overwintering Options – You have a few choices when overwintering tropical or non-hardy plants. –Bring inside and grow as a houseplant -Store it away as a dormant plant, tuber or root -Collect seed and start again next year -Take cuttings and grow those indoors over the winter -Leave outside in protected area with suitable added protection
Overwintering as a Houseplant – Be sure to follow the procedures listed in our tip sheet on bringing plants indoors for the winter. Once inside, most houseplants need two major requirements – high amounts of light and added humidity. As a general rule, only water as needed, and watch for sudden outbursts of insect problems. And do expect some leaf drop as they adjust to the indoors environment. Foliage plants, jasmine, bougainvillea, hibiscus, citrus, gardenia, Mandeville, annuals, elephant ears (alocasia / colocsia), even bananas can be overwintered as a houseplant. And if too large to fit, feel free to cut them back as needed, but making sure to leave some foliage on the plant.
Overwintering Dormant Plants / Tubers – Many non hardy plants are grown from tubers, corms or roots which are dug up in the fall, generally after the first frost, stored indoors over the winter, then replanted next spring. Elephant ears, caladium, cannas, gladiolas, dahlias, sweet potato vine, agapanthus, etc are examples of this. These are dug, cleaned, and stored in peat, newspaper, etc in a cool dark place (40-50 degrees). Check them regularly for dryness or rotting. These can also be stored away in the same manner if growing in pots. Simply remove old foliage and store pot and all in a cool, dark place. Some plants can be stored over winter in the same basic manner, simply by bringing them indoors before the first frost and placing them in a cool (40-50 degrees) place with little or no light. They will lose their leaves and go into a dormant stage for the winter. Water once per month (lightly) to keep slight moisture in the soil. In the spring, cut the plants back, bring them back into a well lighted area (nothing direct for the first 2 weeks or so) which will wake them from their winter sleep. Plants that can be stored indoors in a dormant stage include bananas, elephant ears, ensete, hibiscus, Angel trumpet, tibouchina, jasmine, etc.
Overwintering Cuttings – Many annuals perform quite nicely over the winter (indoors) by taking cuttings from the parent plant and overwintering the cuttings. 3-4 inch pots usually work best, and can be kept on a windowsill. Many folks like to overwinter geraniums, and although is best done with cuttings, can also be done growing as a houseplant, or by digging and bare rooting the mature plants before the first frost, and placing them in a paper bag in a cool dark place (40 – 50 degrees). They will go dormant. Mist lightly every now and then. In the spring, bring them out of the bag, cut them back, replant in a pot, and see if they regrow. (This was the way Grandma used to overwinter her geraniums, except she hung them upside-down in the cellar rafters.)
Overwintering Outdoors – If you have a ‘hardy’ banana that you would like to try and overwinter outdoors, here are 2 methods to try. 1.) After the plant has been hit by a good frost, cut the top back to one foot below the leaf axis. Surround the stalk with a chicken wire cage that is 2-3 feet in diameter. Fill the wire column with leaves, straw, grass clippings, bark mulch, etc. Then cover the entire structure with heavy plastic or tarp and secure with twine. 2.) Follow above procedures, but rather than using chicken wire, simply invest in bubble wrap. Make 5 to 10 laps around the cut banana stalk with the bubble wrap, and then cover over the top opening to protect from rain and snow. Tie it all together with heavy twine. If you’d like, feel free to add 5-6 inches of mulch around the base for added root protection. For those in Zone 5 or lower, you may have best success taking the banana indoors for the winter (bare root and store in cool dark place).
Again, successful overwintering of non hardy / tropical plants will take trial and error, and not always be successful. But, if you are, then it was well worth the effort next summer!
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
If your summer annuals are starting to look a little summer worn, it may be time for a little fall makeover. There are so many great plants to add to our containers or flower gardens to add fall colors its unreal!
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale – the colder the weather the more colorful these leaves will get – creams to pinks to lavender.
Asters – cold hardy late blooming perennials with their brightly colored star like colorful flowers.
Pansies – so many great colors to chose from today with pansies! Bright colors all fall, and depending on the weather, sometimes a few flowers in the winter, and maybe even next spring.
Here’s a new kid on the block – colorful mustard greens. Yes the same mustard greens grown in the garden, now putting on a fall show in containers and in the ground. Try Big Red – the colder it gets, the redder the foliage gets. Dinner and a show!
Garden mums – Considered a tender perennial, garden mums come in a multitude of colors for planters or the landscape right on thru October. Look for the new mammoth mums – breed in Minnesota for winter hardiness. Give them room –they can get large! Hey, what’s fall without the wonderful colors we get from garden mums?
And don’t forget the many colorful perennials that can be planted in containers or fall plantings – ornamental grasses, sedges – sedum with great foliage and great flowers, Coral Bells with so many different colorful leaves – all great for fall colors and yes, will come back next year as well.
Remember, these all do quite well both in ground and in containers, so you can enjoy wonderful fall colors just about anywhere in your yard, patio or deck.
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
2012 September ‘Yardening’ Checklist:
-September is turf month. Lawn renovation – core aerating, over seeding, new seeding, starter fertilizer, first regular lawn feeding – best done in September. Fall lawn care is the backbone to how well it can perform next season.
-Fall is for planting! Fall is thee best time for planting most trees, shrubs, perennials, roses, evergreens, etc. More roots are developed in the fall than any other time of the year – natural rainfall to water – cooler temperatures easier on the plants and you! September / October / November are the best months for planting!
-Switch summer container plantings to fall designs. Planting colorful perennials, pansies, mums, asters, ornamental peppers, cabbage and kale, colorful mustard greens, cold hardy annuals, etc make great colorful shows for fall. See our container designers for suggested plants / designs.
-For late colors in the garden, plant late bloomers such as garden mums, asters, pansies and violas, Caryopteris, Turtlehead, Japanese anemones, Sedum, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrod, Beautyberry, and lots more!
-Begin acclimating tropical plants for bringing indoors. Sit plants in shade for 2 weeks before bringing indoors. Check for insects (plants and pots) before bringing indoors.
-Purchase spring blooming bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc.) now, but wait until mid October thru November to plant them.
-Stop feeding woody plants – limit pruning to whole branch / dead branch removal.
-September & October are good for digging and dividing spring and summer blooming perennials.
-Keep weeds under control in the landscape beds, gardens and lawn.
-Keep watering as needed, especially new lawns, newly planted plants and evergreens.
-Keep harvesting fruits / veggies / herbs as needed. Try drying herbs for winter usage. Pot up garden herbs for growing indoors over the winter.
-Sow late season greens like lettuce, spinach and other greens (in ground or in containers). Plant garlic mid September thru early October.
-Keep mowing on a regular basis / throw those clippings back into the turf.
-Stop deadheading / feeding roses.
-Deadhead spent flowers on mums.
-Cover garden ponds with netting to limit debris / leaves from falling into the water.
-Once the garden is cleared, add organic matter and till in. Fall is the best time for adding organic matter to help improve the soil.
-Start a compost pile if you don’t have one already.
-Rest amaryllis bulbs 6-8 weeks in dark dry space.
-Begin 14 hours of darkness for poinsettias to turn holiday colors.
-Great time to start feeding the birds (if not already). Make sure they have a source of water as well. Keep those hummingbird feeders going into mid / late fall.
Visit www.natorp.com for more great gardening information.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Fall is for Planting!” And you’re asking yourself, “why do you say that”, it’s simple. While the tops of plants are shutting down for the season, the roots are firing up! More roots are developed on plants during the fall season than any other time the rest of the year. Planting in the fall gives newly planted plants a head start on next year. And, planting in the ‘fall’ is less stressful on the plants and us with the cooler temperatures, and under normal situations, autumn’s natural rainfall helps with watering.
Fall is also the time for planting fall colors like mums, asters, cabbage and kale, pansies and violas, ornamental peppers, fall flowering perennials, perennial herbs, colorful hardy vines, and cold hardy annuals. Fall is also one of the best times for transplanting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, etc, for all the same reasons that its such a good time for planting.
Remember: A healthy, well planned landscape can add as much as 15-20% to the value of your home, return as much as 200% on the original landscape investment, and as realtors will tell you, increases the resale value as well as improving the curb appeal when trying to sell your home. It also provides personal pleasure and enjoyment, as well as helping the environment both aesthetically and functionally.
September Lawn Care – September is ‘Turf Month’ and what you do to your lawn this month (and fall) is the backbone to how well it can perform next year. Three very important things you could be doing – core aerating, seeding, and feeding. But before you can do these three ‘things’, the soil must have good moisture. If it hasn’t rained, water the lawn 2-3 days in advance. Also mow it 2-3 days in advance, so that it’s at a lower height, and easier to perform aerating and seeding. Soil moisture is a key here in getting any of this to work.
Core aerate the lawn, using a core aerator, which removes plugs from the soil, and deposits them on top. These holes help to open up the soil for better water and fertilizer absorption, better airflow to the roots, and help to loosen heavy compacted soils. Once aerated, the cores of soil will dry, break down, and can be raked or mowed to return to the soil’s surface, and drop back into some of the holes. This is also a great time for lightly topdressing with a fine compost, earthworm castings, etc, and raking that into the open holes adding organic matter to your soil! Core aerating is not a necessity, but is very, very helpful to most lawns.
Over seeding thinned and bare areas to help thicken the lawn is one of the best defenses against those pesky weeds. In most situations, use a seed slicer (slit seeder); slices through the existing grass, and deposits the grass seed into the soil, which is very important for seed germination. For over seeding existing lawns, use a compatible seed, or the same seed as the existing grass. When using a slice seeder on bare soil, be sure to go at least 2 directions – N to S and E to W. For new seeding use full rates, for over seeding existing lawns use ½ normal seeding rates. And if going 2 directions for seeding, use ½ the amount one direction, and the other half for the other direction.
Feed the lawn. With new seeding or overseeding, apply a starter fertilizer. No seeding? Then use a high nitrogen lawn food. This feeding, along with a late fall feeding, are the 2 most important feedings of the entire year. VERY IMPORTANT!
Make sure you keep good moisture in the soil for those new seeds to germinate and get growing – evenly moist for the next several weeks. If you have a few weeds, we’ll attack them later (mid to late October which is actually the best time to kill lawn weeds), after the new grass is up, growing and been mowed at least 3 times. The goal right now is getting the new grass up and growing, as well as getting the existing grass greened and growing as well. Remember, what you do to the lawn now really does determine how well it can perform next year.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Make your plans now for September lawn care and fall landscape plantings!
Landscape Plans – August is swiftly moving forward and September is right around the corner. And that means the kickoff of my personal favorite season – fall. In the meantime, start making your plans for your lawn renovations and rejuvenations, planting areas for spring bulbs, where you’ll be adding fall color (containers, landscape beds, etc.), where you need to add tree and shrubs, etc. Remember, fall is the best time for planting!
-If you need help planning / designing all of this, then you need our Landscape Design Kit (available online at www.natorp.com ). Our landscape designers professionally design it, you plant it, and you get all the credit! Make sure to get your landscape design kit turned in soon, so that we can have your plan finished in time for you to shop and buy at our Nursery Outlet.
-For those who would prefer professional design and installation, contact Natorp’s Landscape Division now to schedule an appointment with one of our landscape designers. Call 513.398.4769 or visit www.natorp.com.
-And did I mention you can schedule a time for our Garden Coaches to come to your home and give a little onsite plant advice? They will walk around and answer your questions on site in your yard! There are so many ways we can help you be successful in your fall plantings!
-Get started now so your plans will be in place when you’re (or we’re) ready to plant!
Lawn Plans – It won’t be long until September is here. September means turf month, and that means you need to be evaluating your lawn, right now! So, where do you start when evaluating your lawn in August?
-First, take a look and see how much desirable grass remains. If the turf is brown, look closely to see if the crowns are still green and viable. If so, they will fill back in this fall with the usual fall fertilization. If the lawn is dormant, you may need to water regularly to get it to start growing so a better evaluation can be made.
-If there are voids in Bluegrass lawns (4-6 inches in diameter), they’ll fill in on their own. But if those 4-6 inch voids are in turf type tall fescues or perennial ryes, spot seeding will be needed to fill in the voids.
-If you find perennial grassy weeds like Zoysia or Nimblewill growing in the turf, or tall fescue clumps in a bluegrass lawn, treat those now with Roundup / Killzall (may take 2 applications), and then reseed / sod those areas in September.
-If your lawn is 50% or more broadleaf weeds, you should consider total lawn renovation, which means everything is killed with Roundup / Killzall (2 applications 10 days apart may be needed), and then reseed / sod the area in early September.
-If the lawn is 70% turf grass and 30% weeds (or less), a good fall feeding (September and late November) with a mid to late October spot treatment of weeds (or early spring weed control) will work quite nicely. Even with this ratio of turf to weeds, plan to over seed the lawn to help thicken it up.
-Evaluate your lawn now, so you can do whatever is needed to be ready for September.
-Remember, September is turf month, which means the perfect time to core aerate the lawn, over seed the lawn to thicken it up or to reseed the lawn if you’re renovating or filling bare spots, and time for the first fall feeding. So make sure you’ve got your turf plans in place soon.
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
August Yardening Checklist
-Continue to water as needed. Water early in the day for best the results (between 5 and 9am). Check that rain gauge to know how much rainfall your yard has received.
-Plant perennial hibiscus for unbelievable dinner plate sized blooms! Keep planting perennials all summer long.
-Great month to see and plant ornamental grasses in the landscape!
-Keep harvesting herbs, fruits and veggies as needed. Early August is the time for planting cool season greens for late fall harvest. Keep them cool and watered if the temperatures are hot. (Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts as transplants / beets, kale, lettuce, spinach, radishes, chard, collard greens, carrots, arugula, peas, etc)
-Keep weeds under control. Do not let them get a foothold or go to seed!
-Bug problems? Make sure you know what they are, if they need to be controlled, and the best natural controls available. Read the label, and use as directed. (Same goes for diseases.)
-Keep feeding those container plantings as needed. Feed annuals and perennials as needed – one last feeding for roses this month.
-Deadhead, pinch leggy plants, etc. If your hanging baskets are looking summer worn, or annuals getting tall and leggy, cut them back. It takes about 2 weeks, and they’re back re-growing and looking fresh for a late summer show of colors.
-Besides whole branch removal, dead branch removal, or extremely light tip pruning, stop pruning of woody landscape plants by mid month.
-August is a great time to dig and divide iris and peonies if needed.
-Cleanup and pitch diseased and fallen leaves in the lawn, landscape and garden.
-Late August / start planning for planting garden mums, pansies, asters, ornamental cabbage / kale, cold-hardy annuals, colorful perennials, etc, in September for fall colors.
-Keep feeding those hummingbirds, and keep a supply of fresh water for the birds.
-Evaluate your lawn by mid August, in case drastic measures need to be taken for fall lawn renovation. This is the time to kill existing lawn and unwanted lawn vegetation in preparation for September seeding. Keep mowing as needed, and keep that mowing height up!
Quick tip: Fall is for planting, so right now is an excellent time to take advantage of our Landscape Design Kit. Let our design pros design a landscape area for you, just in time for the Nursery Outlet ‘Fall Planting Season’! (www.natorpnurseryoutlet.com