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Gardening Tips: September

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Watering plants:
The hot summer months tend to also be very dry. Look for signs of wilting and try to water slowly, either by hand or by setting the hose on a slow trickle for a set period of time. If you use a sprinkler, use it in the morning rather than midday or evening, so the plants will have a chance to dry out. If you are trying to establish a newly planted landscape, you will need to deep soak these plants at least 2 to 3 times a week, depending on weather. Some plants handle dryness better than others; one plant to base your watering on is a Hydrangea; it is one of the first to wilt, so when you see this you know it’s time to water.

Lawn renovation:
Labor Day in southeastern Pennsylvania marks the start of the fall lawn. This is the best time of the year to fix any problems with your lawn. Nights get cooler which allows better germination of grasses and slows weed growth. If you are planning to totally reseed an area, and are planning to use Roundup, you will have to apply it at least 2 to 3 weeks ahead. Remember this herbicide only acts on actively growing weeds, so if it is very dry, you may need to irrigate before spraying to push the weeds back into new growth. Remove the existing lawn sod down to the bare soil. Add organic material such as compost or a good organic top soil; rake or rototill it in. Use a hand or mechanical spreader to apply the seed; read label to use the correct amount. Only use a top quality seed mixture. In this area, we have a lot of Kentucky blue grass and fine fescues. If you are seeding in a shaded area, make sure your mix has some creeping red fescue in it. Covering the newly seeded area with penn mulch or straw netting will help to retain moisture and keep soil temperatures warmer for germination; Keep the area moist for maximum germination, water early in the morning so the soil has a chance to dry as the day goes on. Depending on the seed, it could take 10 to 14 days to germinate.

Fall roses:
Continue to prune out any broken or damaged canes, and any dropped foliage or debris should be cleaned up. Stop deadheading roses at this time of year; many roses develop large colorful hips. This also indicates to the plant that the growing season is coming to an end. These large orange hips are full of seeds and great for local wildlife; they also look great in the autumn landscape..