Spokane County Extension

Garden - Lawn - Landscape


September


Early September is an excellent time to put in a new lawn. Cool weather with periodic rainfall is ideal for grass seeds to germinate and become established. Choose seed mixtures that are suited for your location. Bluegrass varieties work well in sunny areas and fescues grow well in shady areas. Do not plant bentgrass seed.

If you didn’t core aerate your lawn in the spring, do it now.

When the weather cools down, dig and divide perennial herbs and flowers.  You can plant or transplant trees and shrubs.

Clean up plant debris from the yard and garden. Shred and chop vines and corn stalks before composting. Compost debris before it begins to harbor pests and diseases. Do not put quack grass, diseased plants or weed seeds on a compost pile. Do a final weeding to remove weeds before they go to seed and spread.

Dead twigs and branches on Western red cedars, arborvitae and some pines are normal at this time of year. This “flagging” is a response to cool temperatures and moisture stress.

Green firewood can harbor beetles that pose a threat to garden trees. Eliminate beetles by piling wood into stacks no more than 4 feet high, wide and deep. Cover each stack with a clear plastic sheet. Bury the edges of the plastic and tape the seams; sunlight will do the rest, cooking the beetles within a few weeks.

 

 

Rototill or dig compost, rotted sawdust, manure and other organic matter into the soil. Fairly warm temperatures will give these additions a chance to begin breaking down before the ground freezes.

Tomatoes don't need the sun to ripen. Bring in green tomatoes if they have lost their bright green color. They will ripen to red on an indoor windowsill.

A hard frost can damage winter squash and pumpkins. Harvest them when their rinds resist puncturing with a fingernail and when the vines near the stem end begin to wither. Bring them indoors to a warm room for a couple weeks before storing them in a cool place.

Pears should be picked before they're completely ripe, but not too early. Pick while they are still firm, but after the bright green color begins to mellow. Pears should come off the tree easily with a twisting upward pull. If they don't come off the spur easily, they are not ready.

Garden centers offer spring-flowering bulbs this month. Choose your favorites as well as trying new ones.

A general rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to plant them two and a half times as deep as they are wide. Include some bulb fertilizer and bone meal in the planting hole and water a few times before the ground freezes.

 

 

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