By Brent Gray
If the hot dry summer has allowed many unsightly broadleaf weeds and crabgrass to encroach into your lawn then now is a great time to apply post-emerge herbicides to remove them.
The combination products containing two or more herbicides such as 2,4-D, mecoprop, dicamba, carfentrazone, fluroxypyr, etc. are very effective on most broadleaf weeds. It is important to select a product that is labeled for your specific turf species.
While bermudagrass is tolerant to most all of these herbicides centipede and St. Augustine can be quite sensitive and require formulations made specifically for them so read the labels carefully before applying. The most recent class of lawn herbicides is the sulfonylureas. These are very active compounds having very favorable environmental impacts and require only grams of product per acre versus pounds of some of the older products.
While they may be difficult to find in small homeowner packaging they offer excellent control of many broadleaf weeds and some selective grasses and sedges with good turf tolerance.
Products such as metsulfuron (Manor, Blade MSM), chlorsulfuron (Corsair), halosulfuron (Manage, Sedgehammer), trifloxysulfuron (Monument) flazasulfuron (Katana), foramsulfuron (Revolver) and sulfosulfuron (Certainty) are included in this family of herbicides. Again it is very important to read the labels to see what they control, where they can be used and for which turf species they can be applied to. The old stand-by for crabgrass control in bermudagrass and zoysia lawns has been MSMA (monosodium-methyl-arsenate) which is no longer labeled for residential applications. Quinclorac (Drive, XLR8) may be an alternative while sethoxydim (Segment, Vantage) can be applied to centipede.
Fall tomatoes should be being transplanted to the garden now. Keeping young plants alive in one hundred degree heat is a challenge and the most important factor is water. The soil should be at field capacity at or immediately after planting. This means the soil should be as wet as possible without being flooded.
Deep planting will help keep the roots in wet soil longer. Almost as important is a healthy root system on the transplant. Keep the plant’s root system moist at all times so the root hairs are still there to pick up water when the plant is transferred to the garden. Hot air can pull all of the water out of the plant in a short time.
Snap peas planted in late August or September will bear sweet, crunchy pea pods during the cooler times of October and November.
Traditional snap peas grow on tall vines that need support, but newer varieties like Sugar Sprint grow on less than two foot vines that don’t need staking. Afila types like Sugar Lace are an interesting plant that makes very few leaves, but lots of tendrils. They could be considered a dual use vegetable for foodies who like to stir fry pea tendrils.
Pumpkin growers should be seeing flowers if not the first fruit set on their vines. Make sure there are bees working the blooms so the fruit will form. Gardeners wanting large pumpkins should thin the fruit to one pumpkin per vine.
Gather and dry herbs from your garden now. Gather sprigs of oregano, marjoram, basil, sage, Texas tarragon, rosemary, chives, and bay. Make small bundles of these, secure the stem ends with rubber bands and hang in a dark, hot place (attic) to dry. Check in a few days and when crispy dry, remove leaves and store in airtight containers for flavoring those winter foods.
Unless you have been very vigilant about watering your container plants, it is a good possibility that the soil has on occasion become so dry that it has shrunk away from the sides of the pot and has hardened. If this happens the water you apply will flow right across the surface and down the sides of the pot—and right out onto the ground!
If you are like me and do not have the patience to stand there and soak the soil until it becomes moist all the way through, put the pot in a large container, tray, saucer or other vessel that will hold water. Then add water to this larger container and let the planted container soak up the water from the bottom for a few hours. Remove the water saucer and let excess water drain from the planted container. I purchased several large trays or plant saucers for this purpose that I rotate among my container plants.
You will need supplemental fertilization in late summer and fall. Adding a slow release fertilizer to the surface and occasionally feeding with a soluble fertilizer should give your container plants the boost they need as your spring application of slow release fertilizer has probably been depleted by now.
Wayne Wells, David Nagel, Lelia Kelly