Mum’s the word as seasons change in Oklahoma

The middle of September has arrived ever so quickly this year and the first hardy mums are already in bloom. Most all the varieties of hardy chrysanthemums, one of our grand fall traditions are either in bloom or heavily budded and getting ready to bloom. The cooler than usual and moist weather of August is resulting in earlier fall flowers. If you already have some in your yard they probably grew nicely this summer and you can expect literally mounds of color.

If you go to purchase some now from your local garden center they will likely be in bud or bloom and the size you buy will be the size they are for this fall. Once they set buds and flowers the vegetative growth of the plant is complete for this season. If you buy a 6” or 1 gallon plant and enjoy it this fall at that size remember that when it sprouts out next spring and grows all season most varieties will make a mound of 18” to 24” in diameter and 12” to 18” tall.

Most hardy mums in Oklahoma survive our winters and grow nicely through the spring and summer to produce a great fall flower show if watered regularly through the growing season. They are heavy drinkers and respond well to liquid or granular fertilizer during the growing season. You can get many flower styles of cushion mums in all tones of red, bronze, yellow, purple, orange and white to add excitement to your fall garden as each plant can produce bushel basket size mounds of color.

There is still time to apply weed and feed products or pre-emergent weed killers to control winter weeds in your lawn before they germinate. The sooner you apply the pre-emergent the more effective it will be. This is the time to complete your final feedings for the season on your trees and shrubs to insure a healthy root system as they prepare for winter.

State fair time is when spring flowering bulbs usually go out for sale.  I like to wait to plant them until mid October through November but now is a good time to select and buy the biggest, firmest tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus to have them ready to plant later this fall to produce bright cheerful colors early next spring.  Those gardeners that kept watering and taking care of their tomato plants that didn’t produce well this summer with our unusual weather are being rewarded with great crops of fall tomatoes. At our house we are enjoying fresh tomatoes and peppers with every meal and great bowls of green beans and potatoes as well as eggplant dishes as fall vegetable yields are bountiful.

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