Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Supplemental Feeding And Improving The Lawn

By Thomas Fryd

September highlights: keeping apace of daylilies; feeding the lawn and long-season plants; experimenting with chrysanthemums.

New, glamorous day-lilies are being introduced in such rapid succession that one is kept pretty well out of breath trying to keep apace of them.

Feeding the lawn and long-season plants - One of the leading manufacturers of lawn fertilizers, after reporting that under certain treatments lawns had been improved 80 per cent, commented: "That's quite an improvement, but with supplemental feeding it's possible to improve a lawn 180 per cent." The secret is revealed in the practices of the golf-course superintendent: he feeds the greens regularly all summer long. What home gardeners should do is feed the lawn at the rate of 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of good plant food per 100 square feet in June and again in August or early September. Also, the clippings shouldn't be removed unless they are unusually heavy and will mat and encourage the growth of fungus diseases.

According to the manufacturer's report, greens that were fertilized regularly but not mulched with clippings made a 97 per cent increase in growth, whereas those given the same treatment but also mulched with clippings gave 180 per cent increase.

Autumn is the ideal time for feeding your established lawn. Cool temperatures mean better growing weather for both new and established grass develops deeper root growth and thicker, greener grass.

All long-season plants, especially chrysanthemum plants and dahlias, should be fed regularly and be supplied with adequate moisture. Many plants like chrysanthemums, if permitted to stop growth for any reason, become stunted and often never fully recover.

Experimenting with chrysanthemums - For many years I have made it a practice to remove all buds from the midseason (blooming around the last week of October) exhibition chrysanthemums which appear before September 1. Only the buds that appear after this date are allowed to develop into flowers. Last season I did a bit of experimenting. I disbudded a few plants varieties until August 20 instead of September 1. I found that there was no noticeable difference in time of flowering or in quality of bloom between these plants and those disbudded until the later date. Also plants that were set out as cuttings in early April and those of the same variety planted in early June bloomed at about the same time.

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