Western Mountains and High Plains
Check Houseplants for Pests
If you've been "summering" some of your houseplants outdoors, now is a good time to check them for outdoor pests that might conveniently find their way back indoors later this fall. Look on the undersides of the leaves for tiny spider mites, aphids, thrips, and mealy bugs. Check the stems and leaf joints for insect invasion, too. If you detect any insects or suspicious pests, a good way to get rid of them is to hose the plants off with water.
Keep Up the Battle Against Weeds
Don't let those weeds in your garden get a strong foothold. It is important to keep weeds under control by hand-pulling to prevent them from going to seed. That rubbery purslane can produce as many as 250,000 seeds per mature plant if left ignored. This will mean more young weeds to invade the garden next year. After a rain has moistened the soil, take time to pull weeds out, roots and all.
Curing Lumpy Lawns
The heartbreak of lumpy lawns is a continuous problem in older lawns, and many consumers have been misled into buying pesticides to control the problem. It's the work of nightcrawlers that come to the surface of the lawn and leave the ground lumpy as they deposit castings at the top. The long-term solution is to core-aerate the lawn at least twice a year, spring and fall. Then apply topdressing of compost and rake the surface of the lawn to break down the casting mounds.
Use Vinegar to Kill Weedy Clump Grasses
A non-toxic method for killing spots of clump grasses in the lawn is to spot-spray with undiluted vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar (five to ten percent acidity) and direct spray directly to the center of the clump grass. It will burn the grass and shallow roots. Be prepared for a brown, dead spot in your lawn. Once dead, dig out the dead clump and replant with new grass seed or sod.
Mulch Roses and Perennials
Mulching can help reduce stress and prevent diseases. To help soil around roses bushes and various perennials, spread a layer of organic mulch, such as compost or shredded shavings. Piled about 2 to 3 inches deep, organic mulches create a natural look. They will conserve water and reduce weed invasion.