Southeast Gardener's September Checklist

With atmosphere, creating a feeling of excitement and a scent, September opens with the dog days of summer . The source of this excitement might be no other reason than the weather being bearable enough to spend some time outdoors once more.

Reds dominate. Yellows generate. Purples empower. Grasses sway, with flowers. Themselves steady because they feed on seeds. Box turtles mosey around the tomatoes, eating what the birds or deer knocked to the ground. Life abounds. September was made for sitting on the terrace.

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Strawberry wants. If you did not fertilize your berries in August, do this in September. For plants that were planted this past spring, apply 4 to 6 oz of ammonium nitrate (33 percent nitrogen) or 12 to 18 ounces of 10-10-10 for each 25 feet of a row.

For plants in their next year of expansion, increase the application rate to 6 to 8 oz of ammonium nitrate or 18 to 24 ounces of 10-10-10 for each 25 feet of row.

Spread the fertilizer uniformly at a band over the row, about 14 inches wide. Apply when the foliage is dry. Brush the fertilizer off the leaves to avoid leaf burn.

In cases like mine, where the berries are not planted in rows but rather as a backyard boundary, just estimate the square footage and apply the equivalent quantity of fertilizer. My strawberry border is 2 1/2 feet wide by 10 feet long, which is equivalent to 25 feet of rows.

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September (and August) is when the cell size of next spring’s strawberry buds is determined. The more positive the growing conditions that your berries receive the bigger the berries will be next year.

Ensure your berries have 1 inch of water each week. If nature doesn’t provide this, then plan to supplement with water from the spigot, rain or well harvester.

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Wait to prune shrubs. Fight the urge to prune shrubs that seem overgrown after a lengthy summer revealing. It is best to wait until late spring to prune, before the next growing season starts.

Pruning today could spark new growth that could be too tender to endure an early deep freeze. You could also be cutting off following spring’s blooms, like azaleas and camellias.

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Prune roses. Fear of trimming the next year’s bloom is not a worry with roses, but it’s still best to wait until March.

Knock Out roses can be pruned any time, however, particularly once you want to shape the shrub. All sorts of roses benefit from elimination of diseased canes and leaves in almost any season.

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Fall planting. October is a great time to plant or go a tree or shrub. To search for one that will do well in your area, visit the local garden centre this month while the choice is at its peak.

Remember to dig a planting hole no deeper than the root ball height, and excavate the hole two to three times the width of the root ball diameter.

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Lawns. The first two weeks in September are the best times to reseed cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue or even Turf-Type Fescue. Additionally our gardens will profit from a core aeration.

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Feed hummingbirds. Hummingbird feeders are not necessary if you have enough plants to nourish these people, but they are a great way to ensure you get a consistent food supply for the hummers. It’s possible to place the feeder at a place that is easy to view from your favourite seat, indoors or out.

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Make your own hummingbird nectar. Making sugar water nectar to fill your feeder is easy to do and takes less than a minute. Boil four parts water with one part sugar. Decrease the heat as soon as the sugar dissolves.

Allow the sugar-water mixture cool, fill out the feeder. Store any remaining nectar in the refrigerator for up to a week. When temperatures are hot, greater than 86º F, then alter the nectar water daily.

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Weeds. There never seems to be only 1 bud; they arrive in multiples and just like to hang gangs. You will find the sedges, the spurges, the grasses and the oxalis. There are too just many to mention and still hope for a happy day.

Stay ahead of your weeds. If you have a issue with poa annua, annual blue grass, like I do in my Raleigh backyard, today (early September) is the opportunity to utilize a pre-emergent like corn gluten.

Watch more ways to combat weeds

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Pests. Should you discover fall webworms in your own trees — hickory, walnut, birch, cherry and crabapple, to mention a few — pull them out and dump the caterpillars into a bucket of soapy water. This is a control measure for those planters within reach.

For those nests that are not within reach, you might need to resort to spraying. Control webworms with BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis). Apply just to the affected branches; utilizing BTK as a wide spray will hurt beneficial insects as well.

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