When the new school year begins, I start thinking “fall” of the year. And cooler temperatures! However, I have learned (a long time ago) to lower my expectations!
But, the temperatures will drop a few degrees (hopefully) as we advance deeper into September, and it will be time to begin thinking about a fall feeding of our turf grass. The St. Augustine turf, which hasn’t been too active for the past month or so, will hit a growth spurt as the intense heat gives way to somewhat cooler temperatures. Continue to mow weekly throughout the duration of the growing season.
TURF AND LAWN CARE
This is the time to repair dead areas caused by chinch bugs damage during the summer months. Remove any dead grass, and rake it clean. The turf can be replaced by either laying new sod, or plugging the area. We recommend installing sod as it provides “instant lawn” and can help prevent weeds from growing in the bare areas. You will be happy next spring when you aren’t looking at dead spots in an otherwise lush, green lawn.
Watch for caterpillars such as armyworms or sod webworms. They chew grass blades and can devastate a lawn in a short while. These can be controlled with products labeled for sod webworms.
BROWN PATCH FUNGUS
Once we begin to experience cooler nights, be on the watch for a fungal disease commonly known as Brown Patch. It can be a problem in St. Augustine lawns, especially in low areas that hold moisture. If you had Brown Patch last year, chances are you will have it again this year in the same areas. Begin to treat now with a preventative dose of fungicide. Lawn Ranger Company’s GREEN LAWN SYSTEM can be of assistance.
We aren’t completely out of the hot season just yet. Continue to monitor rainfall and water thoroughly when necessary. However, as we say so often, be particularly careful not to overwater as too much moisture is a catalyst for Brown Patch.
It is a good idea to wait several days, or perhaps a week, before watering the lawn after a good rain, (although flower beds may require it sooner). The goal is to keep the ground moist to a depth of about 6 inches.
ANNUAL FLOWERING PLANTS
It is probably too late to plant warm-season flowers, and a little too early to plant cool-season. I wouldn’t add anything to the flower garden at this time. If you have a bare area, mulch it and hold off for a couple weeks, when cool-season annuals can be planted.
It is still too hot to transplant or divide most perennials. However, DAYLILIES and IRIS (including LOUISIANA IRIS) may be divided now. Go ahead and plant SALVIAS now if you can find them. Most SALVIAS put on a wonderful display of flowers in the fall and early winter – well into December.
Most of the summer-bloomers are finished or are finishing their floral display for the year. Cut back the flower stalks and old faded flowers to keep the plants looking attractive.
It has been a long growing season, and roses have certainly needed their share of your gardening time. Don’t slow down yet! Continue to keep your roses watered as needed and keep pest problems from getting out of control. Over the next two months, some of the finest flowers of the year will be produced in great abundance from healthy rosebushes.
The same pests that have been around all summer may continue this month. Watch for whiteflies (especially on GARDENIAS), lace bugs (especially on AZALEAS), scale (especially on CAMELLIAS, HOLLIES, and EUONYMUS), and aphids (especially on OLEANDERS).
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