Organic Answers Column - September 14, 2022 - September Maintenance Calendar
Lots of Organic Maintenance to do this September – see the Calendar
Some of the busiest months of a gardeners' year are when preparing gardens to put in crops, and in Texas that happens twice, in the spring and then again in the fall after the summer heat dissipates. September, in particular, is a month to not only work on the fall garden, but to put in seeds for spring wildflowers and blubs and rhizomes for the annual showstoppers of daffodils, iris, tulips, lilies, and much more. And then there is the beginning of the season for tree planting and soon, tree pruning.
We have posted a few reminders this month about putting in seeds and bulbs, but take a look at the entire September calendar (with added hot links to some of those topics here on the Dirt Doctor site) and start getting ready NOW to have that great spring garden you always wanted.
- Wildflower seeds if you didn’t plant them at the best time in summer.
- Finish warm-season lawn grass plantings of Bermuda and zoysia by seed no later than early September. Solid sod can be planted any time. Cool season grasses such as ryegrass, fescue and blue grass can be planted in the later part of the month.
- Transplant established spring-flowering bulbs, iris, daylilies, daisies and peonies.
- Fall blooming perennials such as asters and mums. Hardy perennials, especially spring blooming plants. Divide spring blooming perennials if necessary.
- Cool-season vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beets, turnips, spinach, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes and English peas.
- All planting areas with an organic fertilizer at approximately ten to 20 lbs. per thousand square feet.
- Corn gluten meal can be used to help control annual winter weeds such as bluegrass, dandelion, henbit, fescue grass, ryegrass and Poa annua.
- Foliar feed all plants and lawns with Garrett Juice or compost tea. Also drench the soil for new and problems plants.
- Avoid all synthetic fertilizers but especially "weed and feed" types and the "nitrogen only" types. Remember that the only complete, balanced fertilizers are organic. The synthetic salt stuff contains no carbon and poor compliments of trace minerals.
- Root-prune wisterias that failed to bloom in the past.
- Shade and ornamental trees if needed. Make no flush cuts and use no pruning paint.
- Remove spent blooms of summer flowering perennials if you haven’t already.
- Remove surface tree roots if you must but no more than 20 percent of root system per year. It’s best to leave the roots and add shredded tree trimming mulch or convert from grass to groundcovers.
- Water deeply, but only as needed during dry spells.
- Potted plants and hanging baskets regularly. Add Garrett Juice as a root stimulator for better performance.
- Brown patch or take all patch in St. Augustine: Apply whole ground cornmeal at ten to twenty pounds per thousand square feet. For follow-up applications, use dry or liquid garlic, potassium bicarbonate or cornmeal juice. Dry granulated garlic at two pounds per thousand square feet also works well.
- Webworms, tent caterpillars: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) as a last resort on infected plants only. Spinosad is also effective. Make a note to release trichogramma wasps next spring.
- Grubworms - apply beneficial nematodes if necessary, but realize that only 10 percent of the grubs you see are harmful to plants. Dry molasses will also help.
- Cabbage loopers on broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage: Spray Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Release trichogramma wasps prior to this time next year.
- Aphids on tender, new fall growth - spray garlic tea or water blast followed by release of ladybugs. Add one to two ounces of molasses per gallon of spray. Spinosad can also be used.
- Fire ants: Drench mounds with orange oil based mound drench or plant oil products and apply beneficial nematodes. Apply Spinosad products for problem infestations.
- DISEASES: Black spot and powdery mildew: Spray garlic-pepper tea and see the Organic Rose Program.
- Chlorosis (yellow leaves, dark green veins, newest growth first): Apply the entire Sick Tree Treatment and add Epsom salts or sul-po-mag if magnesium is deficient in the soil. Greensand can help because it contains many trace minerals. Iron may not be the only one deficient. The key is to stimulate the biological activity of the soil so that the “tied-up” minerals in the soil are made available to plants.
- WEEDS: Chemicals pushers recommend MSMA even though it’s now illegal for homeowners to use. It’s an idiotic recommendation. The product contains an arsenic compound. They also recommend the dangerous 2, 4-D products for broadleaf weeds. They also recommend products like Manage for other weeds. These chemicals will severely injure or kill trees. Image is a waste of money and can do damage. Organic weed control results from healthy soil, thick healthy plants, fertilizing with corn gluten meal and spot spraying natural organic weed controls.
*Planting recommendations based on North Texas climate, which is zone 8. Check with your local nurseries and extension service for specific varieties and timing.