Garden Questions of the Week
“What was the website for your radio show guest last week – talking about sustainable living?” Dan Adams is his name and the website is www.earthineer.com.
“Did you say October is the best month for weed control in the lawn?” -Yep! October is here, the lawns are greening up nicely from the great weather, but you still see a few weeds here and there. October is actually the best time for lawn weed control! Perennial broadleaf weeds like dandelions, plantain, clover, creeping Charlie and the whole gang are best controlled right now. So, why October? As the temperatures cool down, maybe get a frost or two, it signals the weeds that winter is coming and time to store energy. The weeds begin storing energy reserves for the winter in their roots, so when you spray them, the herbicide enters the weed and travels to the roots with the food reserves, giving a complete kill of the weed – top and bottom. When you have hard to kill weeds in the lawn, this is your best shot to get rid of them. Use a water soluble lawn weed killer, and make it lists the weeds you are trying to control. That means read the label before applications. Spot treat the weeds as needed – not the entire lawn. And remember, if you seeded your lawn in September, you must have at least 3-4 mowings on the new grass before attempting to use a weed killer, which may be late October. As you look to the future taking care of your lawn, I want you to start to think this way – feed the lawn to keep it healthy and thick – two times in the fall and maybe once mid spring – and then spot treat for weeds using a water soluble weed killer, only as needed.
“We’re planting new trees this fall but understand deer may be a problem. What should we do?” – If you’re planting trees this fall, and you have deer in neighborhood, use trunk protectors on the new trees and existing ones if they’re less than 4 inches or so in trunk diameter. Try added protection with deer repellents like DeerScram, Liquid fence, Repels All, or Milorganite, which feeds and repels deer. One buck deer can destroy your new trees in one night, by rubbing them with his antlers – and they love doing that this time of year. Use trunk protectors, as well as deer repellents to keep them away from your investments.
“We’re getting ready to move our tropical plants indoors. Any tips?” -If you’re getting ready to bring your foliage plants back inside for the winter – and hopefully they’ve been in the shade for a couple weeks – there are 3 things for you to do before bringing them indoors:
1.) Hose them off with a strong stream of water. You may even want to do this a couple times while they’re acclimating in the shade. This helps to blow off any insects that may be hanging out on the plants.
2.) If possible, laid the plant on its side, slide it out of the pot, and inspect the root ball for any unwanted bugs or anything else that may be hiding in the bottom of the pot. Rodents, even snakes have been found hiding here. One way to make sure nothing is in the soil (including ants and other bugs), is to fill a large tub with water, and then submerge the plant pot and all in the water for several hours. Anything in the soil will either drown, or will float to the top of the water. It’s also a great way to soak the soil. Just make sure you allow it plenty of time to drain before bringing it into the house.
3.) Just before bringing the foliage plants inside, give them a good spraying of insecticidal soap – tops and bottoms of the leaves, stems, trunks and all. Again, trying to get rid of any hitchhiking bugs! Let the spray dry, and then bring the plants indoors.
Place your tropical plant indoors in a well-lit area, away from vents and drafts. Place a saucer under the pot. As a general rule, water the plants well, let dry, water again. And never let water sit in the saucer. Use luke warm water for watering. And do expect leaves to drop as the plants make their final acclimation to the indoor lighting. It’s natural. And keep your eyes open for any flare-ups of insects on the plants. Keep insecticidal soaps, systemic insecticides, and whitefly traps on hand just in case.
“Any suggestions what to do for our garden ponds now that it’s fall?” -Sure do! And I’ll take some info from the newsletter of our good friends at Aquascapes (Dan Meyer at www.aquascapes.com).
NETTING YOUR POND – Leaves are the one biggest nuisance to your pond. It’s important to keep the leaves from falling into the pond because if leaves accumulate on the bottom of the pond they will decompose and create not only toxic gasses for the koi but will tend to clog the filters and increase the maintenance of filters and/or pumps. Leaf nets installed during the time when the leaves fall from the trees is the best insurance against more maintenance in the spring. Two products you might want to consider:
1. Leaf Nets - We have many sizes and different qualities of nets on our website. Great for pondless streams!
2. Skimmer Net - This is a fish net that you can use to skim off the surface and bottom of your pond to collect the leaves. The front of this net is flat for ease of use. Some nets are available with extendable handles.
PREPARING YOUR KOI FOR FALL – Do you have a pond thermometer? We have stressed the importance of a pond thermometer many times. The following are a few guidelines on when to start using a winter prep fish food, when to use cold water bacteria, and when to stop feeding your fish.
1. At about 60 degrees water temperature, it’s time to change over to a fall fish food that contains wheat germ. Wheat Germ helps make the food easier to digest at colder temperatures. This food will help clean out the koi’s digestive system in preparation for their winter dormancy. Healthy koi in the fall and winter mean healthy koi in the spring.�
Aquascape Premium Cold Water Fish Food Pellets or the Microbe Lift Koi and Goldfish Cold Water Fish Food are scientifically formulated to provide premium nutrition to all pond fish including goldfish and koi at colder water temperatures.
2. At 50 degrees stop feeding the fish and begin using the Cold Water Bacteria. Cold Water Bacteria can be used between 35 and 50 degrees water temperature. Also using the Sludge Cleaner Bubble Tabs in the fall will help digest the debris building up on the bottom of the pond and will help lessen the burden of spring cleaning.