Category: Ken Morgan

Prepare soil to nourish wintering plants

Fall is settling in on us and that means it’s time for amending the soil for some plants to feed them into the new year and promote their next bloom. Start with poinsettias and roses then move on to the Christmas cactus and acid-loving plants. At the end of the month, check in on strawberry plants and get your leaf composter fired up. Fall is fun, but there’s still much to do in the garden. WEEK ONE • Hosta plants are going dormant now. After foliage has yellowed and browned, cut stalks to the ground. Check the pH now and adjust, it needs to be between 6.0 and 7.0, to be on target for the new growth in the spring. • To get your poinsettia to re-bloom in time for the holidays, give it 12 hours of total darkness and 12 hours of light per day. Just a few minutes of artificial light will upset the process. Continue to do this for two full months. Also, fertilize the plants every other watering. My choice is Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster. WEEK TWO • After the last roses bloom, spread bone meal over the soil and soak in. A lot of rose guides suggest pruning now; but I believe it is better to wait until March to prune back any rose. Do this before spraying dormant oil/lime sulfur spray. This will...

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Be ready to adjust for falling temps

For the first week of September for your gardening chores, remember to not prune any spring-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, azalea, camellia, holly, lilac, rhododendron, Spirea, and viburnum. They are within three weeks of completing bud formation for next year’s flower bloom, be sure to check pH and provide one last feeding. Also for that first week of this month, be sure to clear away summer annual flower debris from beds, but only prune back wave petunias, snapdragons, and geraniums as they can withstand some frost and will continue to provide a beautiful flower display. Provide enough water to maintain soil moisture. Cleome, sweet alyssum, snapdragons, and some types of marigolds will self seed, just shake the ground with the dried stems. WEEK TWO • Starting this week, bag all grass clippings as you mow the lawn. When soil temperatures begin to drop to cooler than 53 degrees, the micro-organisms that break down the grass clippings become dormant, resulting in thatch. Thatch promotes lawn insects and diseases. This will also help if you intend on re-seeding your lawn, since the grass seed needs to come in contact with the soil. It will also allow the lime and fertilizers to work better. Making sure the blades are sharp on the mower will also help keep your lawn in good shape. • To help roses to harden off and mature for...

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Start your defense against stink bugs

Set up stink bug traps in your yard. These traps will lure stink bugs with an attractant that is odor-free to humans, before they enter your home or damage your vegetable or fruit gardens. A light can be purchased separately to be added to the trap for indoor use. Remember to mow your lawn high (three to four inches tall) to prevent stress and shade the roots. WEEK ONE 1. If you are considering a fall vegetable garden, now is the time to purchase cold crop vegetable seeds. Broccoli, spinach, turnips, kale, greens and cauliflower are prime crops that will harvest before frost and thrive during the cooler fall nights. 2. Prune marigold flowers at the first sign of discoloring. A major disease (called botrytis) will take out marigolds quickly if you do not keep them pruned this time of the year. Pruning them will also promote a more lush and blooming plant. WEEK TWO 1. Prune back to the ground all raspberry and blackberry canes which have just fruited. Pruning the spent canes encourages continued spur development on canes which have grown this summer meaning a better fruit yield. Also, prune out any pencil thin and dead canes to encourage more light into the plant for more vigor. Apply Espoma’s Hollytone at recommended label instructions to provide nutrients. 2. It is time to move your potted amaryllis indoors...

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Quick summer tips are in season

Remember, lawns and established plantings need at least one inch of rain every week. If it does not rain, then one slow watering is best. Watering in the morning (5 a.m. to 10 a.m.) is best to prevent fungus and scorching. If you live in an area with sandy soils, such as parts of Caroline and Dorchester counties, you will need to do this twice weekly. Remember, don’t forget to check your container plantings — not only for water — but also to see if you need to add more potting soil or Leafgro. Sometimes when planters are allowed to dry out too much, the soil will shrink away from the sides of the containers. Here is a checklist to keep in mind for July: Week 1 • Japanese Beetles are now present and mating. Place Beetle Traps at the corners of the property, away from desirable plants (roses, grapevines, flowering plums and cherries). We suggest using Bonide’s Yard and Garden Eight, Beetle Killer or liquid Sevin. These are contact killers and will last between ten and fourteen days; • Pinch back chrysanthemums one last time to enjoy bushier plants and more flowers in the fall. New flower buds will start forming in late July or early August; • This is a good time to cosmetically prune arborvitae, mugo pines and yews; and • If your flowering annuals are...

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