By Brent Gray
There always seems to be some questions about pruning this time of year. Yep, you can prune in late summer. The type of pruning you do is the key. Some examples follow. It is just fine to remove any damaged, diseased, or wayward branch (those that poke us in the eye as we walk up the sidewalk) any time of year.
Continue to remove any suckers that appear around the base of your tree-form crepe myrtles as well as any suckers that appear below the graft of roses or fruit trees. Rub off any tender shoots that appear along the trunks or main branches of large tree-form crepe myrtles and fruit trees.
Watering Newly Transplanted Trees And Shrubs
If you added some trees or shrubs to your landscape during the late winter or early spring, do not forget to water these plants during dry weather. Root systems are still developing and growing into their new location and may not be extensive enough yet to withstand dry weather. Water deeply; wetting the entire root ball at least once a week if there is no rain. Mulching around the root area (do not pile mulch deeply around the trunk or stems) will help to retain moisture in the soil and deter weeds that compete for the available moisture.
The cool spell in August has allowed large fruited tomatoes and peppers to set a new fruit load. When these new peppers and tomatoes grow to about an inch in diameter, apply a light fertilizer addition to the soil. These bonus vegetables should be ready to harvest in October.
Now is the time to transplant all of the cabbage family. Kale and collards are staples in gardens and will be ready to harvest by October. Cabbage and broccoli take a while longer. The most challenging member of the family is Brussels sprouts, with cauliflower a close second in failure rate. Both of these crops require long periods of sunny days with temperatures below eighty degrees. We tend to get a week or two of nineties in September and even October on occasion. These above optimum temperatures cause the cauliflower heads to open before they are fully formed and the sprouts to remain small. The rewards are great if the weather cooperates.
It is time to make arrangements for strawberry plants to be delivered in September and October. Have the garden ready to plant the strawberries the day they arrive.
Preemerge weed control should be applied by Labor day to control winter annual weeds like annual bluegrass, little barley and dandelions. Lawn burweed (stickerweed) is a pest in Spring when the grass first greens up and you want to run bare footed. Applying the right herbicide now will keep the weed from ever growing. It is much easier to stop a seed from becoming a plant than it is to kill a plant.
Lelia Kelly, David Nagel