Cooler temps signal varied kinds of garden chores

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With temperatures cooling slightly, we have several jobs we need to complete at this time of year.

If we have no rain, water twice a week for 30 to 40 minutes each time. Do your watering in the morning hours to reduce the chance of starting disease problems by watering late in the day.

Finish any plant designs and new beds you may still need to install due to damage from hurricane Mathew.

Start planning what types of shrubs or trees you want to plant, and start the planting process in late October or early November - prime time for these plantings. There is less stress from heat and the plant wanting to produce flower blooms and new growth.

This allows the root system to develop over the winter months and gives the plant more energy due to the larger root system picking up more food and water. This will give the plant more blooms and more new growth potential next year.

Do not do any heavy pruning, as the new wood might not have time to harden off and you will cut off your flower blooms on early spring shrubs like azaleas.

Apply another top dressing of new mulch to the old mulch to freshen the beds and straightening bed lines. Remove any weeds in the process.

Grass will be slowing down its growth as the day length changes from long to short days. The most important thing is to keep mowing at the proper height even if leaves start falling later in the month.

As the day temperatures cool below 82 degrees, then we can do weed control to kill winter germinating weeds as they develop and get rid of any summer weeds that are left.

We still need to treat for mole crickets as they eat the roots of your lawn grass and weaken it and allow Brown Patch disease to become a problem. Brown Patch can occur when we get a lot of rain in the evenings or when we have a lot of dew in the mornings on our plant leaves.

If you see dying areas of grass the size of a dinner plate or larger you need to treat for this fungus.

You might consider adding new perennials to the yard or digging and dividing some of your perennials like daylilies or iris. If you do dig and divide, make sure you add plenty of organic matter, lime and some fertilizer to the ground before you replant.

Chrysanthemums will be found in nurseries and should be planted at this time. You can plant them in full sun or in shady areas. If you plant in a shady area, make sure they get four or five hours of sunlight. By restricting the sun, you can prune the mums a bit after flowering and they will flower again, and again in about 10 weeks.

You can still plant zinnias and marigolds for a late crop this fall. Some of the winter flowers will be showing up in nurseries later in the month and you can start planting them but hold off on planting pansies until late October or early November.

It's a good time to plant English or sugar snap peas, onion sets, spinach, beets, radishes, lettuce, green beans, turnips, mustard, collards, bok chow, and carrots.

Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.

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