September (and August) is when the cell size of spring fruit strawberry buds is determined. The more favorable the growing conditions your strawberry’s receive now, the bigger the berries will be next year.
Ensure that your strawberries get an inch of water each week. If nature doesn’t provide this, then plan to supplement with water from the spigot, well, or rain harvester.
If you didn’t fertilizer your strawberries in August, do so in September. For plants that were planted this past spring, apply 4 to 6 ounces of ammonium nitrate (33% nitrogen) or 12 to 18 ounces of 10-10-10 per 25 feet of row.
For plants in their second year of growth, increase the application rate to 6 to 8 ounces of ammonium nitrate or 18 to 24 ounces of 10-10-10 per 25 feet of row.
Spread the fertilizer uniformly in a band over the row, about 14 inches wide. Apply when the foliage is dry. Brush fertilizer off the leaves to avoid leaf burn.
In cases where the strawberries aren’t planted in rows, but rather as a garden border, simply estimate the square footage and apply the equivalent amount of fertilizer. My strawberry is 2.5 feet wide by 10 feet long, which is equivalent to 25 feet of row.
Feeding the hummingbirds
Hummingbirds feeders aren’t necessary if you have enough plants to feed these visitors, but they are a great way to ensure you have a consistent food source for the hummers, and you can place the feeder in a location that is easy to see from your favorite chair, either inside or out.
Making hummingbird nectar
Making sugar-water nectar to fill you feeder is easy to do. Boil 4 parts water with 1 part sugar. As soon as the sugar dissolves, you can reduce the heat. It doesn’t take long; less than a minute. Let sugar water mixture cool, and fill the feeder. Store any remaining nectar in the refrigerator for up to a week. When the temperatures are hot, greater than 86º F, change the nectar water daily.
If you find fall webworms in your trees–hickory, walnut, birch, cherry, and crabapple, to name a few, pull them out and dump the caterpillars into a bucket of soapy water. This is a good control measure for those nests within reach. For those nest that aren’t within reach, you may have to resort to spraying. Control webworms with BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis). Apply just to the effected branches; using BTK as a broad spray will harm beneficial insects as well.
There never seems to be one weed, they come in multiples, and like to hang in gangs. There’s the sedges, the spurges, the grasses, and the oxalis. There are too just many to mention, and still hope for a happy day.
Stay ahead of your weeds. if you have a problem with poa annua, annual blue grass, as I do in my Raleigh garden, now (early September) is the time to use a pre-emergent such as corn gluten.
The first two weeks in September are the best times to re-seed cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, turf-type fescue. Also our southern gardens will benefit from a core aeration.
Wait to prune
Resist the urge to prune shrubs that seem overgrown after a long summer showing. It’s best to wait until late spring to prune, just before the next growing season begins. Punning now could stimulate new growth that would be too tender to survive an early deep freeze. You may also be cutting off next spring’s blooms, such as azalea and camellias.
Fear of cutting next year’s bloom is not a worry with roses, but it’s still best to wait until March. Knock Out roses can be pruned most anytime; particularly when you want to shape the shrub. All types of roses benefit from removal of diseased canes and foliage anytime.
October is a great time to plant or move a tree or shrub. Visit your local garden center this fall when the selection will be at it’s peak. Remember to dig planting hole no deeper than the root ball height, and excavate the hole 2-3 times the width of the root ball diameter.
By: Helen Yoest
The TarHeelGardening blog is published and edited by Helen Yoest. For more information on Tarheel Gardening, please visit our website at Tarheel Gardening- your online resource for North Carolina gardening enthusiasts.