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Playing in the dirt: Welcome fall: Master Gardener tips for September


Sharon Carrigan

Sharon Carrigan



Sharon Carrigan



"A weed has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows." (Doug Larson) 


"Bulb: potential flower buried in autumn, never to be seen again." (Henry Beard) 


"'Vigorous' is code for 'has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world.'" (Gardening Nirvana) 


If you have ever had any of these thoughts or experienced any of these situations, the Master Gardener organization can help you sort them out. Please note this exception: the last statement about "vigorous" refers to wisteria, which is this writer's nemesis! And no, my fellow Master Gardeners have been no help in bringing it under control. 


However, I have learned tips and tidbits for the other problems, and even some other plants described as "vigorous." If you would like to broaden your gardening horizons, watch for an announcement regarding the start of another class, usually in January, with classes in February and March. It's more than just work, though. We're a fun-loving group and, of course, gardeners know all the dirt.  


In the meantime, take advantage of the beginning of fall and go play in the dirt. 




September to-dos 


  • Preparation: Plan beds for bulbs (so you can find them when they come up). Order bulbs. (I suggest not purchasing too many. It's not that they are difficult, but planting lots of bulbs all at once can be daunting.) Prepare beds for October by adding compost or leaf mold. 


  • Plant: Put daylilies in a sunny location, to be well established before winter. Divide and transplant Louisiana iris, Easter lily, canna, liriope, ajuga and Shasta daisy. Plant all cool season vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc. Also warm season grasses; mums for September bloom and fall color, marigolds, asters, zinnias, and celosia to replace faded annuals; seeds for English daisy, Forget-me-not, pansy, Sweet William and violet. 


  • Fertilize: Acid-loving plants that exhibit yellowing of leaves need a treatment of Iron Chelate. Mums need a complete fertilizer every two weeks, and water thoroughly until buds show color. 


  • Prune: Annuals such as impatiens and vinca to encourage fall bloom. Disbud camellias, dahlias and chrysanthemums to produce specimen blooms. Continue dead-heading in the garden to stimulate blooming. Cut back rose canes to 24-30 inches from the ground for autumn blooms. Remove dead and
  • Water: Water the garden deeply early in the morning or in late afternoon, but infrequently throughout the month. Potted plants need to be watered daily. Make sure azaleas and camellias stay well-watered. 


    Master Gardener Sharon Carrigan of Columbus shares monthly tips on behalf of the Lowndes County Master Gardeners.



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