Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

As we approach fall, we need to slow down certain garden jobs. Do not prune or fertilize shrubs after September 1. The new growth this produces will be too tender to survive the cold of winter.

Do not fertilize lawns with nitrogen containing fertilizers after Sept. 15. This is especially important for centipede lawns. They need water now, not fertilizer.

Some people fertilize their lawns in early winter with fertilizers containing potassium. They feel this improves hardiness. There is no evidence that using these on a well–fertilized lawn reduces winter injury.

In other words, it does not hurt, but there is also no evidence that it helps. Just do not use fertilizers containing nitrogen after September. You can move irises and daylilies now, but I would consider waiting until we get a rain.

If you move them now, water them well. Till the soil deeply, adding lime if needed, and add organic matter to improve the soil. Apply little fertilizer, if any. You do not want them to grow now, just develop roots for next year. Use a soil sample for best results.

Learn this lesson if you miss all the others. Fall is the best time to plant! This secret of successful gardeners will help your plants survive and prosper. Plan now, prepare beds and plant when temperatures decrease and fall rains begin. Fall and winter is the best time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials.

When preparing beds, do not use fertilizers with a lot of nitrogen in them unless the plant is a winter growing plant. These encourage top growth which we do not want. Cooler temperatures provide an opportunity for roots to grow and the plant to get established.

You can use fertilizers now that are low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus and potassium which can encourage root growth.

If you have any questions regarding your planting or fall gardening plans, please contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email uge2233@uga.edu.

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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