Saturday, August 27, 2011

Late Summer & Fall Garden Tips

The summer is slowly coming to an end and it's time to start making a list of the garden and landscape chores that will need to be done before cold weather. Today I have a few chores that you may need to do too.

Herbaceous peonies should be cut back to soil level, and the ground under and around the plant should be kept free of debris. Moving or dividing peonies can also be done this time of year. Add compost when replanting, water well, and mulch.

Hydrangeas can be planted this time of year as well. Choose a fertile, fairly moist, but not wet, location in partial shade if possible. If the location is in full sun the soil should be on the moist side. They don't do well in dry soil and full sun unless they can be watered on a regular basis. Hydrangeas won't bloom as well their best in a full shade, woodland environment either. Most hydrangeas can be pruned by 1/3 during the winter months when the plant has lost it's leaves. This makes it easier to prune evenly.

Fall is a good time to divide or transplant perennial plants such as hosta, yarrow, day lily, Lily of the Valley, bleeding hearts, and other plants that bloomed in the spring or early summer. One rule of thumb is to transplant after the perennial has bloomed, not during or before blooming. Water well for the first two weeks after transplanting, especially if there isn't sufficient rain. Mulch can add an extra protection to newly transplanted perennials if it's 3-5 inches thick, and removed in early spring.

I found this great tip from Clemson University Extension Office:
Blossom end rot - check your late tomatoes for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is usually an indication of a calcium deficiency. Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the problem. Nothing will "heal" the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them.

One last chore that I need to do soon myself, is dividing and moving bearded iris. I have two tall varieties, and one cream colored dwarf iris. I love how easy they are to grow, but I spaced mine too close together and I need to thin and divide the rhizomes. The perfect time to do this is after a hard rain. Dig up the iris, cut off the foliage to 5-6 inches above the root/rhizome and set them to dry for a day or two before replanting.

On OFL I have more tips on dividing iris and looking for insect damage:

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