September Newsletter 2021
Yay! It’s September! Wahoo! The cool air makes me want to get out in the garden and pull all those weeds that shot up during the blasting heat… and watch all the bees and butterflies flitting around.
These are the questions being asked at the counter:
Do you have Pansies? Yes! We just got them in yesterday.’
What can I use to kill my crabgrass? The answer is nothing at the moment. Crabgrass is an annual grass. It is going to die. But it has deposited lots of seeds for next year. So next late April/ early May get out there and apply Preemergent Crabicide to your lawn. Write it on your April 2022 calendar. This will prevent all those seeds from germinating and save you much frustration later in the season. Crabgrass sprouts in May, so don’t apply it too early in the spring. You may have to reseed the bare spots in the spring too. We recommend Jonathan Green Grass Seed. It is pretty wonderful.
How can I make my Hydrangeas more blue? The Bigleaf Hydrangeas (pink or blue ones) can be changed by altering the pH of your soil. To make pink ones more blue, add Soil Acidifier (Aluminum Sulfate) to the soil this year. It takes a while to be taken into the plant, so don’t wait until next summer to do it.
How can I make my Hydrangeas more pink? Apply lime to your soil this season. It raises the pH, which makes them pink.
What is the white powdery stuff on my leaves? The humidity has been unbearably high, which is perfect for fungus to multiply like crazy. There are organic sprays which will halt new outbreaks, but it will not make the existing fungus disappear. We suggest Funginex or Serenade. It’s late enough in the season that it is not a serious problem. You can cut back the icky foliage on perennials so you don’t have to look at it. If it is on woody shrubs like Lilacs or Ninebark, just look the other way. It has even been spotted this year on trees such as Tuliptree, London Plane, Oak, Serviceberry. A tree can lose a third of its leaves without any detriment to its health, so you can sleep at night knowing that your trees will be fine.
Can I still plant? Yes, most certainly… as long as you are able to water twice a week to keep those roots moist. If you are leaving on vacation for two weeks, wait until you get back. Be sure to thoroughly soak the area when you water… not just a little squirt.
Why did my bush just shrivel up last week? It ran out of water in the heat and wind. We tend to forget that plants lose a lot of water through their leaves when it’s hot and sunny and windy. We can go to the faucet and get a drink of water. They can’t. The ground has been bone dry. Even digging down 18 inches, there is no moisture to be found. The leaves will fall off, but keep watering it every day and before long, you will see new leaves sprouting out. Here’s heads up: lawn sprinklers are meant to water only down 4″, and don’t provide enough water to shrubs.
Did you know plants have little brains? They can protect themselves. During stressful times, they curl their leaves to give shade to the leaf surface and prevent excessive transpiration of water through their leaf surface. Now isn’t that smart? You can notice it especially on Dogwoods.
Late season perennials are what you NEED to provide late season food opportunities for your bees, butterflies, hummingbirds.
Russian Sage (Perovskia)
Turtlehead (Chelone) – native
Boneset (Eupatorium) – native
Iron Weed (Vernonia) – native
Calamintha – native
Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia ) – native
Freshen up your flower boxes with Sedum, Mums, Kale, Cabbage, Fall Pansies, Heuchera. Matt the Brit likes grass in his pots. I do too!
Put a PG Hydrangea in a pot and watch it change color from white to pink. But… don’t forget to WATER! Cindy says, HYDRA in hydrangea means WATER. So do it.
Do you have Hemlocks in your yard? Be on the lookout for the Wooly Adelgid. It’s the horrible horticultural dread. Look on the tips of the branches for little fuzzy items at the base of the needles. If you see any, call the MISIN – Midwest Invasive Species Information Network. They are tracking where they are found. Then you need to treat with Annual Tree and Shrub Control…or call an Arborist to professionally treat them. Here’s their website: misin.msu.edu Email is firstname.lastname@example.org They have all the answers for you.
Also get hold of MISIN if you have Michigan Bamboo in your yard. It’s in full bloom right now. It’s scarey stuff and will eat up your yard if not controlled. It looks pretty but it is a serious problem that you should not ignore.
Think ahead to the next season (not mentioning it by name). Add a pair of Michigan Holly (a boy and a girl) so you’ll have beautiful red berries to pick for the holidays for years to come. It will grow in sun or part shade, and even in wet soil.
Of course, planting a shade tree will seriously reduce the heat (by 20 degrees) in your yard. Plant one on the south west side of your house to keep you more comfortable in the heat of the summer. (Just saying… while that awful heat is still fresh in our minds.)
Wishing you a pleasant September!
Jan and the Gang
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