Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Cutting Time For Next Seasons Plants

By Kent Higgins

Selecting Stock Plants - September is a good time to begin making cuttings for starting next year's plants. Lantana cuttings should be made from seasoned wood before any lush growth occurs after the fall rains. If the cutting wood is soft, the cuttings will rot or blast instead of developing roots. The colorful Jacob's coat (Alternanthera) can be kept as cuttings over winter as can other types of herbaceous plants such as hibiscus, geraniums, coleus, ice plant, sultana and wandering Jew. By September, these plants are conditioned properly for taking of cuttings.

Roses - The cool nights of September will stimulate new growth for a lush crop of bloom during early October. This means the last application of fertilizer should be made this month. Light liquid feedings will be very beneficial, or you may use your own pet brand of commercial fertilizer or rose food. Cottonseed meal is a wonderful food and should be used at the rate of one-half teacupful per plant and worked in lightly around each plant. Heavy watering should follow so that the rose plant may absorb the food. Throughout our section, the quality of fall roses often surpasses that of spring blooms, even though they are usually fewer in number. In watering, keep the water off the foliage and do not water after mid-afternoon in order that the plants can go into the night with surfaces dry. The usual disease and insect pests are prevalent during this fall season, so be on constant guard to protect these plants.

Fall Lawns - Seed, feed and weed - these are the lawn problems during September. There is still time to seed bare spots in a lawn and get a cover before killing frost. The final feeding of the season should be applied by mid-September and usually a shot of potash will help to harden off the grass for winter. By light feeding is meant about four pounds of a balanced fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. For this last feeding, use a balanced fertilizer rather than straight nitrogen. This will keep a good color and a healthy turf without over stimulation of vegetative growth and will insure hardening off of the grass to withstand winter conditions. For those who want a winter lawn, this is the last call for planting Italian rye to give that lush green sparkle to the lawn during the winter. Sow seed as suggested last month, and follow with careful care and grooming. A neglected winter lawn can ruin the permanent grass and become an unsightly mess.

By the end of summer many lawns have become infested with weeds and foreign grasses which have persisted in spite of mowing. In my lawn, i put kimberly queen fern but still infested with weeds. These lawn enemies will set seed in a short time and a major infestation may result the next year. The new weed killers will get most of these pests, and there are special selective killers for some of the more difficult kinds such as crabgrass, dandelions and plantains. These chemical controls work better during the warm part of the day, but anytime is a good time for killing weeds just like caring for kimberly queen fern.

If there is serious infestation, large scale spraying will bring them under control. The beautiful feature of the liquid killers is the ability to "spot" kill and most of them do no harm to the permanent grasses. Occasionally, weeds will escape detection in other parts of the garden in out-of-the-way places and these can infest an entire garden, so be on the lookout for them.

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