It might be hard to believe but soon the heat will subside into fall and winter. With cooler weather ahead, plants are beginning to get ready and it is time for you to prepare your garden for success.
• Following recent storm events, keep an eye on potential hazards created by the wind and wet conditions. Monitor the health of trees that experienced breakage or flooding, as they may begin to decline depending on the extent of damage. You may also see effects on other plants such as leaves browning and dropping a bit early due to windburn.
• If you were looking to apply fertilizer to “winterize” your lawn, you are now too late to be effective. Do not apply lawn fertilizer again until mid-April as the grass will not be able to use it through the cooler weather, causing nutrients to run off into ground or surface water.
• With ornamental plants, we are looking for most to go dormant through the winter since we don’t know when the first freeze may occur. To help them along, do not fertilize at this point; it will bring about new growth that would be tender and easily damaged by cold. Cold-hardy vegetables we want to continue growing through the winter are the exception.
• With wet weather, you may see fungal issues within your lawn. While chinch bugs are often blamed, large patch or take-all root rot may be spreading and doing most of the damage. Check the outer edge of patches and look for brown or black, rotting stems or roots. If damage is seen, you can consult your local UF/IFAS Extension Office and their resources for assistance for identification and treat with a fungicide to control the spread. The inside of the fungal patches will not return, so they will need to be replaced or time will be needed for grasses to spread back in. For more information on lawn diseases, see edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh040.
• If you are looking to transplant a tree or shrub, it is a good idea to go ahead and root prune it now. To accomplish this, use a sharp spade to cut straight down in a circle slightly inside where you will dig it later. Do not undercut the tree and a good rule of thumb is to leave one foot of diameter of root ball for every one inch of diameter of the plants main stem. This cut will stimulate small root growth, which will help hold the soil in place and lower the chance of transplant shock. After 6-8 weeks, you will be ready to go.
THINGS TO PLANT THIS MONTH
Vegetables: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, mustard, onions, radish, spinach and Swiss chard.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, chervil, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lovage, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Annuals: Calendula, carnation or dianthus, delphinium, foxglove, larkspur, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansy, petunia, shasta daisy and snapdragon.
Bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, or corms: Agapanthus, moraea, amaryllis, Aztec lily, calla lily, hurricane lily, ixia, kafir lily, lily, spider lily, walking iris and zephyr lily.
Wayne Hobbs is an extension agent in environmental horticulture for Clay County.