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John Fulton


John Fulton
Former County Extension Director



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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

The Fall To Do List

Posted by John Fulton -

It seems like fall is sneaking up on us. It's been a highly variable summer, but the weather is changing. It is easiest to notice the evenings are much shorter, and we have less time to do the things we need to do in the fall. Following is a list of things to get into your schedule over the next few weeks, and in some cases not to do.

Do a good job of raking up old fruit from under trees. This old fruit harbors many diseases and insects that could cause you problems for next year, if allowed to lie under the tree. Don't stop with the ground clean‑up, but also remove mummified fruit and small fruit from the trees and dispose of it in another location.

We are rapidly approaching the "breaking point" for the recommended time to seed grass seed. If you want to try it later, you may have excellent luck or have no luck at all. Fall seedings should be done by September 10 or so. The next recommended seeding time is mid‑March to the 1st of April. Figure on about two pounds of seed per 1000 square feet of lawn for an overseeding, and four pounds per 1000 square feet for a newly tilled area. Hopefully the temperature and moisture situation will be more favorable than it has been earlier.

Now is a great time to go after those broadleaf weeds in the lawn. Make sure that you select the correct product, use the proper amount, and do not treat areas containing fall seeded grass. The rule of thumb is that you need to mow newly seeded grass at least 3 times before treating that area for broadleaf weeds. This means you don't try and do both in the same fall or spring seeding season. Broadleaf weeds that are perennial are sending large amounts of material to the roots to enable them to come up again next year, and translocated herbicides will be sent to the roots as well. Be warned this also means perennials, such as flowers and shrubs, are in the same boat. If you seeded grass recently, skip the weed control this fall.

Pruning chores for plants with a high sap flow should be done in December, while other pruning chores are best done in early February for deciduous plants, and in June for evergreens. Flowering shrubs are best done after they flower to preserve flower buds for the following year. Pruning now frequently leads to more damage to plants.

Plan for next year's garden planting scheme now. It wouldn't hurt a bit to apply some lawn and garden limestone to the entire area, especially those where you will have tomatoes, green beans, and peas. The only areas to not put lime on are areas where acid-loving crops, such as blueberries, will be. Assuming you are applying about a pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet, apply about 4.25 pounds of lime to the same area. This rate would also be appropriate for lawns.



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