Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


August, 2000
Regional Report

Chysanthemum Care

Plant mums as soon as they are available in garden centers to improve their chances of getting established, surviving the winter, and becoming perennials in the garden. If you prefer to enjoy them as a decorative seasonal container plant instead, just keep the soil evenly moist (not sopping wet) and avoid wetting the foliage to reduce the chance of fungal infection, and they'll flower to frost.

Start Cuttings of Favorite Annuals

Take 4- to 6-inch cuttings of scented geraniums and other favorite annuals to grow indoors this winter. Use a soilless potting mix and keep it barely damp. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone if desired, enclose the pot in clear plastic wrap to maintain humidity, and place it in a bright location but out of direct sun until roots form.

Soil Testing the Lawn

Early fall is an excellent time for seeding, fertilizing, and generally repairing the lawn. The weather is cooler, yet the soil remains warm enough for strong root development. Before you get started though, take a soil test to gauge the health of your turf and prepare your soil based on the results.

Repair Season Extenders

Prepare now for the extended fall (and early spring) gardening season by readying your equipment. Build or purchase a cold frame, or clean and check your existing cold frame and make any needed repairs to hinges, sashes, and frame. Examine plastic or hoop houses and check frost blankets for wear, rips, and tears and repair or replace as needed.

Summer Dahlia Care

Dahlias bloom best in full sun and rich, well-prepared soil with an ample supply of water. To keep them blooming strongly into the fall, make sure they\'re never allowed to dry out and feed them regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer and/or manure tea. For larger blooms, pinch off side shoots regularly and stake the stems for stability.


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