Yards, lawns, gardens could use post-Matthew TLC

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The weather is turning cooler, and now is a good time to plant any new shrubs, perennials and trees we might want to add to our landscape.

With Hurricane Matthew changing many yards and landscapes with downed trees and damaged plant material, you might have to change the type of landscape material, especially if you went from a shady yard to sunny.

If you lost shady areas, you might have to change out shade-tolerant plant material with more sun-tolerant plants and flowers.

You can also move some of those shade-tolerant plants to shady areas and then replant those new sunny areas with more sun-tolerant plants and flowers.

This is the best time to plant this type of plant, as temperatures are cooler, there is less stress on the plants, and they will grow a large root system over the winter months as long as soil temperatures stay above 40 degrees.

Remember to water the root balls of these new plantings throughout the winter and early spring to ensure their survival.

We need to also treat our shrubs for insect control, especially scales that might be seen on the underside of leaves and some on top of leaves. The most common are tea scale seen on camellias, sasanquas and hollies.

Another area of concern is the lawn, especially if you had many trees down and the lawn got damaged by the trees and equipment used to remove debris. If you have ruts in your lawn, consider filling them with topsoil. If the grass can be removed, do so, and then add the soil and replant the grass.

If your lawn looks like a war zone, consider planting rye grass for the winter months to hide the damage and keep the ground softer. Then you can replant new grass in the spring.

If your yard didn't get any major damage, it's time to apply an herbicide to control winter weeds and clean up any late-germinating summer weeds. Keep a watch for mole cricket activity, and if you previously have had problems this time of year, you might want to treat now to keep problems down.

One other good consequence of treating now is that we've had an increase in mole activity since Matthew. They are looking for grubs and other insects to eat, and these insects will be controlled by a treatment for mole crickets.

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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