September is a transition month. The soils are still warm from the summer heat, but the nights are starting to get cooler, and the days are getting shorter. This tells plants to do that last bit of growing and doing their photosynthesis magic that makes the sugars and starches to survive the winter!
By the way – the feature photo on the banner this week is a canna – they love the hot weather and bloom now.
The Month Ahead
September is ideal for planting trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs, groundcovers, wildflowers, herbs, vegetables,,,, in short, everything! I wrote about planning for fruit trees this fall back in July (here), because ordering trees may take time. Meanwhile, planting wildflowers is due up on this site next week as a “You Can Grow That” article.
Plan & Plant Now
Now that summer is on the wane, plan on getting out and doing some planting this fall. Some work now, and your yard will reward you with a burst of bloom in late winter, spring, and into summer. It is still hot enough to break a sweat, or worse – get heat-stroke. (Discussed earlier on this site – here). Problem is that if you wait until October to plant, this will not give our Southwest plants enough time to grow and become well enough established before the (for them) chilly days of winter. So, as Phil used to say, “Let’s be careful out there!”
Garden Tasks for Anytime in September
Nourishment for Winter
* Fertilize citrus and landscape plants with a balanced fertilizer for good fall growth. Exception, do not fertilize palms or trees in the legume or pea family, like mesquite.
^ Tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins can be fertilized with a high phosphorous fertilizer for fall fruits.
* Herbs and lawns should be fertilized with a high nitrogen fertilizer for good fall leaf growth.
^ Treat alkaline-induced-iron-chlorosis plants such as roses and citrus again if the rains leeched the treatment away. (I wrote about this in the August calendar – here.)
^ Divide and transplant iris.
* September or early October is the month to sow native wildflower seeds for spring display.
^ Deadhead summer-tired salvias and autumn sages for a burst of new bloom.
* Avoid pruning fall-flowering plants like the Mount Lemmon marigold.
^ Keep pulling the weeds.
* Continue regular irrigation of citrus and pecan trees for best production.
^ Remove any cracked or split fruits from citrus and pomegranates so plant energy is spent producing good fruits.
* Dethatch your Bermuda lawn for October overseeding with winter rye grass.
If you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my free lectures. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Month-by-Month Guide to Gardening in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada” (Cool Springs Press). Note – this link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there I will get a few pennies.
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