A GROWING CONCERN: Get ready as summer slides into autumn – Peninsula Daily News


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WELL HERE WE are, into the month of August already and summer just keeps rolling along.
And talking about keeping things going, we spent the past several weeks discussing these practical tasks that are designed to keep your yard bedazzled.
The pinching and deadheading is an every season job performed on the dying gasp of any flower, at any time of year.
Year round cultivating of the soil is also a must to improve fertility.

Sowing new vegetables can still be done as late as today for a fabulous fall harvest that’s yours.
Fertilization of all your various plants now is a great idea, as your diligent watering of the past few months have leached the soil’s nutrients down and out.
Remember, organic fertilizers are far more beneficial to your soil’s health because they actually aid the micro and macro organisms rather than killing them. Soil is and should be very much alive.
Now is a great time to deep water your fruit trees, especially apples, pears, plums and peaches, so they won’t begin to abort some of their fruit because of dryness.
It has been quite a while since we have had a good rain and your soil may be getting dry.
Fruit trees need a lot of moisture to properly mature their fruit, and flavor is greatly dependent on lots of available water.
If grass exists under your fruit trees (and it should not), then little moisture is present, even if you irrigate the lawn. If this is your situation, immediate care is required.
Once a week for the next month, soak your fruit trees for several hours, applying at least an inch of water over the entire area out past the far foliage line.
To keep your grass green now, letting it grow even taller is the order of the day, whereas allowing the turf to reach heights of 3½- to 3¾-inches high will do wonders.
Then, deep watering (if you must and you don’t have to — lawn grasses grow dormant naturally this time of year) of an inch are beneficial, as opposed to 20 or 30 minutes sprinklings, which are not.
Any trees, bushes, shrubs, perennials, ground covers, vines and berries that have been planted this year should be watered deeply as well.
First year plants need to expand their root system. In the dry soils of later, they will not.
These are all helpful tips to keep your plants going. But what if I want to keep my beautiful flowers growing throughout the rest of the year?
August is the month that all gardeners should begin the big transformation. First, certain flowers — regardless of how well you have watered, pinched, pruned, cultivated and deadheaded — just give up the ghost.
As certain plants or trees begin to look poor, pull them up immediately and replace them with fall flowers and foliage.
It is imperative that you plant many fall plants, which are biannual or perennial, as soon as possible.
They need to grow a proper root system and adhere into the surrounding ground to re-emerge next year.
Fall garden mums, if planted by mid-September, will perennialize quite nicely and be gorgeous next year.
Fall flowering asters and tall fall sedums are excellent choices, as well as snapdragons, carnations, dianthus, dusty miller, artemisia and coral bells, to name a few, for spectacular fall display. Pansies and violas are perhaps my favorite picks, and there has been an explosion in colors and bloom types.
A vast assortment of ornamental grasses exist, many of which have a fall display of changing leaf colors.
Ornamental grasses are also an excellent choice, for as we go from autumn to winter, their seed heads mature into lovely tassels that sway and dance in the breeze to give a great sense of mood and movement to the yard. Later, they will call in the wildlife, as the tassels become natural bird feeders.
No one should overlook kale and cabbage for great fall color and superb garden texture, and these great plants will last until spring of 2022.
The trick of all these plants is to find them soon (within the next month) and get them planted early enough, so they will take advantage of our great mild autumn weather.
If done this month and supplied with adequate moisture and nutrient, an autumn display of color shall fill your hearts and minds alike.
Happy gardening to all — the best is yet to come. And please, continue to stay well all!
Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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