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Enjoy September gardening

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September offers a time to do a general cleanup of the home grounds. This may not sound too enjoyable but you’ll appreciate the end results.

As we move into the month of September, we can expect some relief from summer’s heat and humidity. It becomes more enjoyable to be outdoors. When this change occurs, it offers a time to possibly catch up on landscape jobs. Besides, it’s been too wet to do much of anything but try to keep the lawn mowed between rains.

September offers a time to do a general cleanup of the home grounds. This may not sound too enjoyable but you’ll appreciate the end results. Remove summer annuals that are beginning to look worn out. You can replace them with plants that will give your garden some fresh color this fall. Weed and remove debris such as tree branches from plant beds. Edge sidewalks, driveways and beds if you’ve neglected this task during the summer months.

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After the cleanup is accomplished, you’re ready to move to more enjoyable tasks. If you want fall flowers, start preparing a good planting bed. Locate the bed in an area that receives full sun at least half a day and stay away from large trees. Tree roots can out compete the flowers for fertilizer and water.

Some of the hardy annuals you can plant in late September include alyssum, calendula, candytuft, dianthus, baby’s breath, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, phlox, snapdragon, statice, sweet peas and viola.

September is the last month to apply an application of fertilizer to St. Augustinegrass and zoysiagrass lawns. Make sure to use an appropriate analysis fertilizer with either a low amount of nitrogen or slow release nitrogen and sufficient potassium. Centipedegrass lawns should have been fertilized last month. Shrubs and young, small trees within beds that do not receive fertilizer when the lawn is fertilized may benefit from an application at this time.

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Watch your lawn and ornamental plants for pests. It’s still warm enough for insects like scales, whiteflies, mites, aphids and caterpillars to be damaging. Sod webworms and armyworms can ravage lawns and large patch disease can be a problem as we move into cooler weather. Watch out for these problems and start control measures as soon as you notice damage.

Pull up and throw away summer vegetable plants that have finished producing. Add organic soil amendments such as compost or well-chopped leaves. Anything you add should be well composted and thoroughly mixed into the soil.

Plant fall vegetables now, including broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, endive, escarole, leeks, turnips, radishes, mustard, beets, kale and green onions. Wait until next month to plant strawberries and bulbing onions.

This should keep you busy until it’s time to rake leaves.

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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