Fall 2014

Another Fall has arrived. As always, I would like to offer some observations and timely tips for our landscapes. Here in the Greater Philadelphia region, we have been a bit on the dry side. Until last week’s rain (9/25/14) we were about 2.5 inches below normal. While the rain has helped a bit, a lot of our lawns are still not recovered yet, and are looking a little on the brown side. You can tell by driving around who has been watering, and who has not.

 

WATERING

This is important for our lawns AND our landscape plantings. By allowing your landscape to dry out, it is putting stress on the plants at a time when they are storing nutrients for the Winter. Plants have not begun their process towards dormancy yet, so it is important to continue to water lawns and gardens. Your lawn should receive no less than 1 inch of water per week. Trees and shrubs vary on requirements, but a good, deep watering once a week will certainly help.

FERTILIZER

A late Fall fertilizer will prepare your lawn for NEXT season. The thicker your lawn, the less possibility for weeds to take hold. Weak, underfertilized lawns have more weed and disease problems than well kept lawns. Your trees and shrubs could use a feeding before dormancy as well. If an evergreen, use something like HollyTone, or MirAcid. For your deciduous plants (those that drop their leaves), a basic 10-10-10 plant food will suffice. Be sure to read the label.

LEAF CLEANUP

Make sure you clean up fall debris. leaf piles make the perfect place for over-wintering insects, not to mention some rodents. Also, if the fallen leaf is carrying some sort of plant disease, it remains around to reinfect the plantings next year. Besides being unsightly, leaves left on the lawn all winter will create dead spots that will most likely grow weeds if not addressed in the Spring.

Finally, the leaves in this region have not changed color yet, or started to drop for Fall. The leaf drop we are currently seeing is the result, in most cases, of trees shedding weak or damaged leaves as a defense mechanism, due to recent dry conditions. This is an attempt for the tree to maintain moisture reserves. You’ll probably also notice the lawn under these trees is much browner than the rest of the lawn, as the tree tries to take up as much water as possible. A deep watering is highly recommended, the sooner the better.

That’s all for now. Don’t want your heads to explode. Any questions, feel free to drop me a line.

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