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Cannon: Get your garden ready for winter
A common question asked of the Hall County Extension office, brought to you by Wanda Cannon
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What seasonal things can a gardener do in September to transition into fall and winter?

During the first and second weeks of September, examine your flower beds for overgrown perennials like daisy, black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower. Dead head old blooms and cut off any brown foliage you may see to neaten the plants for fall. Fertilize your salvia and chrysanthemums with liquid fertilizer; this will extend their blooming season and you can enjoy lots of blooms later on in the fall.

If you have one of the those beautiful tropical (not cold hardy) hibiscus in your yard, this is the time to trim it back lightly and make plans to move indoors to a brightly lit place. If you have a perennial hibiscus, it can remain in the landscape but mulch it well prior to frost. Divide your daylilies, iris and monkey grass while you still have some warm weeks to encourage root growth.

Also, this is a good time to give your lawn a little TLC. Spot spray broadleaf weeds with an herbicide labeled for their control. Before planting your fescue seed, destroy weeds now with a fast-acting weed killer such as Round-Up. This allows you to seed after seven days.

Around mid September is the time for your first application of fertilizer on fescue grass. This cool season grass needs fertilizer in September, November, February and April. If you have a Bermuda lawn, they can benefit from a "winterizer" fertilizer application. It is important to do it now when growth has slowed but the frost has not turned the grass brown.

If you do not plan to overseed your lawn this fall, now is the time to put a pre-emergent weed preventer on your lawn.

Now is a great time to buy your spring-flowering bulbs, but wait until soil temperatures are cooler and plant in early October.

Begin purchasing your cool season vegetable seedlings such as broccoli, collards and cabbage. Beets and carrots need to be in by Tuesday, and other vegetables such as radish, spinach and onion can be planted up until Oct. 15.

Cooler weather means its time to plant some great new trees and shrubs. Make sure you dig the hole three times as wide as the root ball. Replace and re-mulch around roses, camellia and fruiting trees. This will help to prevent diseases on next year's leaves.

Also, take time to examine any patio plants, treat with an insecticide before you bring them indoors.

Enjoy the cooler days and nights!!

Thanks to Walter Reeves' seasonal gardening calendar.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.