Can you believe it’s about to be September? I love September because it is the month that permits you to start all over again.
A change of schedule like going back to school or coming back from a long vacation means you get to change your routine, change your outlook, and of course, change up your garden.
Did the heat and weeds get to you so bad this summer you ended up just giving up and going inside? Did none of the tomatoes put out as they should have? Did the zinnias and sunflowers just not do like usual? Well, as the days get shorter and the weather becomes more bearable, you can start all over in September. There are, however, a few chores that I encourage everyone to do.
It is time to apply pre-emergent on your lawn. Pre-emergent chemicals are a preventative measure to stop annual winter weeds from germinating in warm-season lawns. In the Pee Dee, apply pre-emergent between September 15 and October 1 or when nighttime temperatures reach 55 to 60 degrees F for four consecutive days. You can find a complete list of pre-emergent chemicals at https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/managing-weeds-in-warm-season-lawns/.
Another way to stay on top of weed management is by choosing a weed-reduction strategy that will work to prevent weeds from overwintering in the garden. For example, seeding cover crops like crimson clover in your seasonal edible garden beds this fall will reduce weed pressure and improve soil health for next year. In addition, mulching with pine straw, wheat straw, or hardwood mulch can help to reduce weed pressure through the winter.
It is also the time to get out and hand-pull the last of the summer weeds to prevent them from going to seed and popping up next year.
The increasingly wet weather has reduced the need to water lawns and gardens as frequently. Irrigating grass is not a “set it and forget it” activity. Water deeply and infrequently, and only when necessary. Prevent overwatering by monitoring rainfall and adjusting those automatic sprinklers.
Check grass for stress and irrigate based on those results instead of on a strict schedule. Lawn stress can look like the leaves are turning blueish gray, or the grass blades may start to wilt, roll, or fold. Irrigating based on need instead of a schedule will help prevent overwatering and reduce the chance of fungal diseases when the weather gets cooler.
Keep an eye out for late summer insect pressure such as fall armyworm (Spodotera frugiperda). You can find these caterpillars in bermudagrass turf and on young fall vegetables. Other insects like flea beetles and aphids will still be around for your fall garden as well so keep monitoring for damage and apply your preferred pest management strategy as needed. If you’re not sure what kind of insect is eating your plants you can call the local extension office at 843-661-4800 or go online to hgic.clemson.edu to find out.
September is prime time to plant fall vegetables. Follow Clemson’s planting calendar for the best results. You can pick up the planting calendar, free, at the local extension service office at 2685 S. Irby Street, Suite K, or you can access it online at https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/planning-a-garden/. For a beginner fall vegetable garden, transplant broccoli, cabbage, and collard starts right now. Plant lettuce, mustard, carrots, and radish seeds directly into the ground every two weeks in September for a continuous fall harvest through the first frost.
Even with this long “honey-do” list, I have just sprung on you, I hope you can look out on September in your garden with new inspiration and a pleased outlook. Happy gardening!
Read the full article here