September in Your Garden
- Bedding Plants – As the month closes as the fall season begins, clear the garden of failing summer annuals. Begonias, dahlias, geraniums, vincas, petunias, and marigolds have plenty more to give. Pick off spent flowers to encourage new blooms. Turn the soil to aerate; level. Plant calendula, candytuft, chrysanthemum, pansies, snapdragons, stock, sweet alyssum, primrose, dianthus, Iceland poppy and viola.
- Planting and Transplanting – Consider planting a fire retardant groundcover on a bare slope or next to the house. Some of these include Algerian ivy, African daisy, baccharis, myoporum, rosea ice plant and verbena. Select trees and shrubs that won’t necessarily protect you from fire, but won’t add to the situation either. Good choices would be aloe, prostrate acacia, bougainvillea, California laurel, Mexican fan palm, rockrose or yucca. Water and fertilize regularly to maintain vigor and keep moisture levels up.
- Vegetables and Herbs – Sow seeds of cool crops such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Swiss chard, corn, onions, parsley, peppers, pumpkin, radish, lettuce, peas and spinach. Remove all debris from the garden. Cut off large leaves of parsley to encourage new growth.
- Fruiting Plants – Citrus and avocado trees need half their annual doses of actual nitrogen now – give one pound per inch trunk diameter.
- Lawns – Reduce watering. Plant or refresh cool season grasses such as fescues and ryes now.
- Roses – Most roses have stopped blooming by this time, but with a little careful pruning and fertilizing you will be able to force them to bloom one or even two more times before the year is finished. Remove all dead and weak growth. Remove spent flowers and any seed pods (rose hips). Water deeply once a week if needed. Fertilize with Gro-Power.
- Some Specific Plants – Thin buds on camellias and azaleas and feed with camellia and azalea food for the last time this month.
- Pest Control – Prevent weedy poa annua from germinating by applying a pre-emergent herbicide like Amaze. Roses and other plants are susceptible to mildew now. To control, don’t water overhead or in the evenings. Thin out old leaves for better air circulation and remove any debris particularly under deciduous trees which are losing their leaves now. Use neem oil if necessary.
September is the Month for Hot, Dry
- The most common plant materials used for fire retardation and soil erosion prevention are hardy ground covers. Consider planting bare slopes with one of the ground covers mentioned above. Protect plants in hot, dry weather by shading and watering as needed. Renew or create a 2”-3” layer of mulch around plants.
- Cut and dry flowers and early grass plumes for autumn bouquets and holiday decorations. Look for special cones, pods and dried grasses for arrangements.