More timely tips from colleague and garden guru, Ron Wilson of Natorp’s Nursery Outlet in Mason, OH.
“Can you give me an idea of what annuals or perennials I should not deadhead as the season ends, to allow seeds for the birds?” -Certainly! Many of the ornamental grasses, sunflowers, coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, cosmos, cleome, gaillardia, coreopsis, zinnias, marigolds, asters, snapdragons, four o’clocks, goldenrod, penstemon, monarda, celosia, millet, etc are just a few of the many perennials / annuals that will produce seed heads for the birds to enjoy.
“My magnolia is infected with scale – so much the houseplants I’m summering underneath have sooty mold. What do I do?” Move the houseplants and try a very, very light soapy solution for rinsing off the mold. For the magnolia, now is the time for spraying magnolia scale as the crawlers are active. Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil right away, again in 10-14 days, and again in 10-14 days. I would use the oil as a dormant spray late in the fall and again next early spring if the scale is pretty heavy. As for systemic control like OPTROL, Bayer or Fertilome’s Tree and Shrub Insect Control – yes, they add a great backup to all this, and can be applied this fall or next spring. By the way, October is a great time to apply the systemic control to boxwood for spring insect control (psyllids and leafminers).
“We’re new homeowners, and have noticed our plants and lawn are covered with spider webs. What spray do you recommend to get rid of them?” -None! I know it’s hard to accept, but the spiders in the garden are our friends. They’re the good guys. They’re predators, and right now, they’re doing a fine job reducing the bug populations in our yards. So we do not recommend spraying for spiders in the garden. If the webs bother you, feel free to eliminate them with a broom or strong stream of water, but please don’t spray to kill them. Leave the outdoor spiders alone.
“Where do we rent core aerators and slice seeders?” Check with your local tool rentals. In the Mason area, we use Econowise Tool Rental! As a matter of fact they’re easy to get to no matter where you live in the Cincy area. ( www.econowiserental.com ) If your neighborhood has several lawns in need of rejuvenation, think about renting a core aerator and slice seeder to be shared with your neighbors. You could have a lawn rejuvenation weekend party on your street, and share in the equipment costs (and maybe some of the labor as well!).
“Can I spray the crabgrass first, and then seed later this week?” -Nope, unless you’re using Roundup or Kleenup (which kills everything you spray it on). Most weed killers have a waiting period of 4-6 weeks before you can seed. Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra is 2 weeks. Nevertheless, in many cases, this time of the year, crabgrass just laughs at weed killers. You may be better off raking or pulling it out (shallow rooted), or just slice seeding right thru it. The blades usually cut a lot of it off at ground level. If not, the new grass will start to grow up thru the crabgrass clumps, and the crabgrass clumps will die after the first frost or two (while the grass keeps growing). Make sure you use a pre emergent next spring. Thick lawns and pre emergent herbicides – your best two defenses against crabgrass. Ps. Best time for weed control in the lawn will be mid to late October!
“I heard you say something about protecting tree trunks in the fall from deer. Why, and what would we use?” Protect your trees from deer damages, NOW! As we look toward the fall and planting new trees, I want to remind you that if you have any signs of deer in your neighborhood, be sure to protect all newly planted trees, as well as existing trees (4 inch trunk diameter and smaller usually hit the worst), from the wrath of a buck deer! One deer can come thru your yard during the night and literally destroy every tree you have planted, by rubbing his antlers on the tree trunks. And in most cases, the damages are so bad, the trees either die, or never fully recover. And this year, they seem a bit earlier than usual and have already started rubbing trees! So how do you protect them? -Plastic tree trunk wraps / protectors -Poultry wire cages around the tree trunks -Wrapping the trunks with paper tree wrap -Using 4 inch perforated drain pipe, cut to fit over the trunk from ground to bottom tree branch -Driving 3 metal stakes in a triangle pattern around the tree trunk – deer usually won’t mess with the metal stake barriers. -Using deer repellents as added protection (DeerScram, Repels All, Liquid Fence, or Milorganite as a fertilizer / deer repellent). So don’t hesitate. If you have existing trees that may become a buck deer’s rubbing post, get them protected right away. And for newly planted trees later on, after you’re finished planting, put the tree trunk protectors on right away. I still remember some folks planting 3 trees in their yard one Saturday, and coming out on Sunday morning to see all three tree trunks totally destroyed by deer rubs. Don’t let it happen to your trees!
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