With cooler temperatures arriving, gardeners still have many opportunities to add more color to their yard for the winter and early spring.
Start by planting bulbs for spring blooming and adding perennials to the garden. By planting perennials now, you allow the plant to develop a large root system by next spring. These plants will produce more growth of foliage and blooms in the coming year.
You can also add new shrubs to the landscape, as they will also develop a larger root system over the winter months. Also, start planting pansies at this time.
This time of year is ideal for planting. Soil temperatures stay above 40 degrees, which aids in the development and growth of new roots without having to put on new growth and produce flowers. It also allows the plant to be much hardier to the high temperatures of next year.
Now is the time to get your St. Augustine, Zoysia or Bermuda lawns limed (dolomitic) to eventually raise the pH of the soil to a range of 6.0 to 6.6. You must realize that it takes lime three to four months to start to raise the pH of the soil.
By applying lime now, the grasses will be more effective in the uptake of the fertilizer you apply next year.
Mole crickets can still be active at this time, so keep a watch for their activity and treat them now to reduce stress on the lawns over the winter.
We are still seeing some activity from Brown Patch, where you see small circles appearing in the grass and spreading outward in a circular pattern. If you see this, make sure you apply a fungicide to control this problem.
Do not drop the lawnmower height as you mow up leaves this fall, as it can stress grass going into winter and make it more susceptible to winter damage.
Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.