Start preparing yards, gardens for cold weather now

Published 10:42 pm Thursday, September 8, 2011

With the arrival of September, it’s a good time to prepare your yard and garden for the cool weather.

This month is the time to spread cool season turf grass, such as fescue, but if you have put down a pre-emergent weed control last month or plan to do so, new seed can’t be put down until at least six weeks after this is done.

Also, when you put down new seed, you should use a new lawn starter fertilizer.

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If you aren’t seeding, this is a good time to use fertilizer, such as one that will control weeds, on cool weather lawns.

In addition to caring for your grass, fall-blooming perennials, such as aster and chrysanthemums, can be added to the garden.

Pansies in cell packs should be planted as soon as the worst of the summer heat is gone because they need to get a head start in order to stay during winter.

While getting fall plants for your garden, it is also a good time to get spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips, because you will find a good selection in September.

However, they should be stored in cool, dry location until after late October when they can be planted.

Individual cloves of garlic can be planted in September as well. They should be planted three inches deep and four to six inches apart. After growing through the fall, winter and spring, the garlic will be ready next summer.

The only pruning that should be done in the fall is to remove dead, damaged and diseased parts of the plants. Because pruning encourages new growth, any growth that is created will not have enough time to harden off before winter arrives.

However, if you see brown sacks hanging from needled evergreens, you might have bagworms, and they can be pulled off, placed in a plastic bag and thrown away. The plants can also be treated with a chemical spray.

Any part of your garden that will not be used during the fall and winter should have a thick layer of mulch, so weeds will be kept under control during the season.