I love the colors of fall that will soon be upon us, but there are a few gardening tasks to consider for lawn and landscape improvement next year. While I am not a horticulturalist, I do love gardening and landscaping and have learned a lot from my horticultural colleagues which is why I’m featuring some great tips from them!
Most people ask about killing dandelions in the spring or summer, but actually the best time to control broadleaf perennial weeds such as dandelions, clover and violets starts September 15. During this time of year, more herbicide is likely to move into the plants’ roots as plants prepare for winter dormancy. This increases your success rate by killing the weeds, not just the foliage. Also, applications made now have less chance of affecting nearby trees and ornamentals, unlike spring applications made around non-target species that are just leafing out and/or blooming.
Nebraska Extension’s Hort Update also provided information on fall fertilization of cool season turfgrasses. Fall fertilization encourages production of new tillers and/or rhizomes and stolons that increase turf density. This fertilization encourages rooting and production of storage products that help plants survive the stresses of winter and next year’s growing season. Almost all turf areas should be fertilized with 1 lb N/1000 sq ft using a fertilizer with 25 to 50% of the nitrogen as slow release (sulfur or polymer coated urea, urea formaldehyde, or natural organics). The next most important fertilization is near the last mowing.
Fall is also a good time to divide some perennials such as peonies and irises. If you have herbs or other annuals you overwinter in the house, think about bringing them in the house now before frost warnings. You can start taking root cuttings form annual bedding plants such as begonias, coleus, geraniums and impatiens, which do well in a sunny window and can provide plants for next year’s garden.
For more information on horticultural topics, go to Nebraska Extension’s environment.unl.edu website. There you will find information from the Backyard Farmer show, turfgrass recommendations, acreage insights and subscribe to the HortUpdate newsletter.