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To-do list for autumn

POSTED: August 9, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Fall is my favorite time to plant and work in the garden. The days are cooler and it is a great time to plan and implement some great projects to ensure a beautiful landscape the following year.

Maintaining the lawn

For a healthy lawn, plant the cool season tall fescue grass. The best time to seed is October, but you can sod now.

The grass is popular with the do-it-yourself homeowner, because it can be seeded and its genetically dark-green color can be striking in the fall and spring. This cultivar turf grass has an extensive deep-root system and in most cases is somewhat drought tolerant.

Consider these practices when establishing tall fescue: proper planting times, soil preparation (tilling and adding organic amendments), fertilization, irrigation, mowing heights and ideal seeding rates per square foot.

Fertilization, weed control and overseeding are other important factors to consider in the fall.

August is a great time to fertilize bermuda and zoysia lawns. September is good for fescue.

Broadcast your pre-emergent winter weed control in September for bermuda, fescue and zoysia lawns. Overseeding established lawns is best in October for bermuda and fescue grasses.

When your grass goes dormant and leaves litter your yard, try something new. Recycle the leaves by mowing them up and using them around the bases of your trees, shrubs and garden beds. Incorporate some of them into your fall vegetable garden for rich humus by next spring.

Planting flowers

Plant flowering pansies and violas near the first of October. Pansies and violas come in several colors and varieties ranging from solid shades to softer pastels. Combine complementary colors, planting yellow or orange blooms with purple or maroons. White and blue pansies are also a striking combo.

Pansies require full sun and good drainage. Plant them on raised beds full of organic matter worked into the soil about a foot deep. Broadcast 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 2 cups per 100 square feet over the bed and work into the soil.

September and October is a great time to for flowering perennials, too. If you like spring bulbs, pick your blooms and plant them by December. The site needs adequate sunlight between six to 10 hours.

Mix them in with new perennials and annuals for a nice combo in the spring. Plant bulbs like daffodils, hyancinth, crocus or tulips.

Tending the garden

For leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collards, turnips, kale, cabbage and lettuce, transplant them in large containers and keep them close to the kitchen for a easy access. The veggies can also be planted in containers as ornamentals and mixed with pansies, violas or snapdragons for a pop of color on a stark patio or deck in the winter.

Wanda Cannon serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. Contact her at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension or wcannon@hallcounty.org. Her column appears biweekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.


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