Four September Garden Tasks

Every garden season has it’s to do list. Some things are just better done at certain times of the year to accommodate plant requirements and preferences. Paying attention to these rhythms will ensure your success in your garden. Below are a few of the major tasks to be dealt with in September.

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Daffodiles / Sensible Gardening and Living

Replanting Garden Evergreens

Fall is a much better time to move your evergreen than the hot days of summer. When digging be sure to capture all the roots and to damage as few as possible.  Have your new planting hole all ready and watered to minimize the amount of time the roots are exposed to the air. Reposition your tree or shrub and backfill with organic compost. Water thoroughly and continue to water right up to frost. Letting them dry out now is a recipe for failure.

Divide Irises

You will know when it is time to divide irises when they start to center out, the rhizomes become overcrowded or their flower production has diminished. After flowering is a good time to divide them but if time did not allow then September is a good time as well. Begin by digging up your iris plants. Toss out the dead, tired centers and cut new sections from the outer edges. Move to your amended location and plant being careful not to place the rhizomes too low below the soil. If iris are planted to far below the soil line they are susceptible to rot and will not bloom properly. The tops of the rhizomes should just be barely covered with soil or even slightly above the soil line. Arranging 3 fans in a circle produces a well formed clump later as it matures. Cut the leaves back by about 2/3. Irises generally need to be divided about every 3 years to keep them blooming well.

 Spring Bulbs for Fall Planting

No matter how many bulbs I plant for the following spring it never seems enough. For me planting bulbs is a bit tedious, especially the smaller ones. It is however well worth the effort and you will be glad you did come next spring. Planting them now is kinder to the gardener with warmer temperatures and soil that is still friendly. Fall bulbs suitable for planting now are crocus, scillas, daffodils, hyacinths and winter aconites. Tulips should be left for October. To make the job a little faster, dig a large enough hole to plant 5 or 6 bulbs at the same time spaced out evenly.  Bulbs generally are more attractive planted in clumps than a single row. Adding a little bone meal or bulb food at planting time will ensure healthy blooms. Also a fine dusting with bulb dust will help to keep your bulbs healthy.

Sow Hardy Annuals

Hardy annuals, those varieties that are hardy to your winter temperatures, are best sown now as opposed to next spring. This is basically what mother natures does. By fall planting them now your seeds will have a head start and will bloom earlier in the season next year.

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