By ROBERT LEWIS
Happy Labor Day weekend everyone. As the summer season is getting near its end, we broke the heat wave last week and actually had a couple of rainy and cooler days, but now we are back under the next “Heat Dome” with little chance of rain for a while. There is some good news for gardeners though; we are moving into a much more active gardening period of time. Looking at a long range forecast, our day temperatures will start to drop and more rain chances will begin to appear as soon as mid-September, just as the Autumnal Equinox is set to usher in the first day of fall season on Saturday, Sept. 23.
September begins as a busy month for gardeners and many of us find ourselves anxious to get our lawns and gardens back into shape.
We can get started by doing some trimming on many of our perennial plants. Lantanas, Mexican Petunias and Penta, for example, need to be cleaned up by raking fallen dead and dried leaves from underneath the plants – old spent blooms need to be removed and old blooms’ stems need to be cutback by 25 to 30%.
Many Lantanas need to be cut back by 50% to eliminate damaged foliage from lace bug damage, allowing for a flush of new foliage and later, a new abundance of blooms.
When I recommend trimming of perennial plants and shrub plants, I always recommend an ample feeding with quality organic fertilizers. “Trim and Feed” your plants now and as we cool off a little more in the next two to three weeks, these plants will be thriving and back in full bloom.
On all of your landscaping plants, it is a crucial time to fertilize plants, especially palm trees. For palm trees, it is important to fertilize by the seasons, early spring, early summer and now as we enter early fall. This will provide needed nutrients throughout the active growing season. Only winter hardy palms need to be fed in the winter months and we are learning (from the two recent freezes) that can help them tolerate and recover quicker from exposure to freezing temperatures.
September starts the “second season” of vegetable gardening in the Rio Grande Valley. With the harsh, hot/dry temperatures of August, many of us are behind schedules of getting our fall garden started, especially with tomatoes.
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