Cooling temperatures a relief, but there is still much to do in the garden

What a joyful week of temperature relief we enjoyed in recent days. Regrettably we did not get much rain out of the front that brought us the nice temperature change. We appear to be heating back up again so it is very important you remember to keep soaking your “still dry” trees, shrubs and gardens. They will be able to make better use of the water now that our night temperatures are cooler and the daytime highs are not as hot. We really need to help our permanent plant material produce and store as much energy as possible in the next 6 to 8 weeks before our first hard freeze. This is a great time to apply your last fertilizer application of the growing season to your warm season grasses, trees and shrubs. That will allow the new growth a chance to harden before that first freeze. Do not fertilize unless you are also watering.

Now is the time to complete applications of pre-emergent herbicides or weed and feed type products to your lawn to control winter annual weeds. Do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide if you plan to plant or overseed fescue or rye grass in that area in late September through October. If you have an area of the yard you want to convert from bermudagrass to tall fescue, now is the time to use glyphosate or Roundup to kill the bermuda before you make the switch to tall fescue in a few weeks.

The football season is in full swing and that is always a good sign that we are also in hardy mum season. I  visited several nurseries and garden centers this last week and saw many very good looking hardy mums in all size containers ready for you to select and plant. Most are covered with flowerbuds and few crops make such beautiful mounds of color. There are many styles of chrysanthemum flowers and even more colors so that you can decorate your yard and containers with red, purple, orange, yellow, white, bronze or pink. They will bloom for weeks, often right up to the first, really hard freeze. They are good perennials and if watered regularly will come back year after year to be a highlight of your fall garden.

The Oklahoma Horticulture Society will be holding their annual Garden Tour for Connoisseurs 1 week from this next Saturday on September 24th from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. This is always one of the best garden tours offered across our state. This year you will have a chance to visit 7 great family gardens in near northwest Oklahoma City and the amazing Chesapeake Energy employee community gardens. This is the main fundraiser for the Oklahoma Horticulture Society and provides funding for their great educational programs and student scholarships. You can buy tickets in advance at local garden centers, on the day of the tour at any of the gardens or visit okhort.org for more information.

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