Organic Matters

The Online Newsletter from Rohde’s Nursery and Nature Store and Green Sense Fertilizers

Rohde’s October 2017 Organic Gardening Calendar

  1. PREFACE
  2. VEGETABLES, HERBS & ANNUAL FRUITS
  3. FLOWERS & ORNAMENTAL GRASSES
  4. TREES, SHRUBS, & VINES
  5. LAWN, TURF GRASSES & GROUND COVERS
  6. OTHER_THINGS_TO_DO_THIS_MONTH

We are in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 8a with an annual minimum temperature of 15 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit,
and in Texas AgriLife Extension Service District 4 (East Region) - North (Dallas):
http://dallas.tamu.edu/, http://dallas.tamu.edu/extension/d4/.
Our soil is predominantly blackland prairie clay or "Houston Black" officially with areas of sandy Cross Timber soils north, east, and through parts of Ft Worth's Tarrant County. (
http://www.soils4teachers.org/files/s4t/k12outreach/tx-state-soil-booklet.pdf).

Plant heat zones for Dallas-Ft Worth: The zones give the average number of days a year that an area has over 86 degrees temperatures. The temperature many plants apparently become affected by heat. Click here for more information: http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/plant_heat_zones.html.

NOAA’s Weather Forecast:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html

EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION
issued by
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS
and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
14 September 2017
ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Watch

Synopsis: There is an increasing chance (~55-60%) of La Niña during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2017-18.

Last month there was a 55%-60% chance for ENSO-Neutral conditions (normal / no Niños/Niñas). While eastern Pacific equatorial surface waters and accompanying atmosphere are still hanging around normal ENSO-Neutral temperatures, the sub-surface waters in this area are turning a littler cooler promoting the 55%-60% chance of a La Niña later in the winter.  La Niña usually means warmer and dryer winter.

Also see: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/fxus05.html: Prognostic Discussion For Long-Lead Seasonal Outlooks

Lake levels: http://waterdatafortexas.org/reservoirs/statewide
Drought Information: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Drought/

PREFACE

This month is the time to plant most everything. September was too hot and dry, but the rains look to be returning. We are carrying our September sale over to October except all perennials will be 50% off now. This is the best time to plant and we made it the best time to buy your plants.

Fall is when you need to replace your wood mulch if you have fruit and nut trees, or plants that have yearly problems with fungus or insects like crape myrtles. Many disease and insects over-winter in the mulch or on the trunk and branches of these plants. Cleaning up leaf litter and changing the mulch will help control many of these problems. A dormant oil spray in the last half of January to the first half of February will help control what's on the trunks and branches of these plants. For all other plants, just bring the wood or pine straw mulch up to the 2 to 3 inch depth usually recommended. The mulch helps to protect the soil life along with the plant roots. It lessens evaporation, tempers temperature swings, and shades out UV sun rays.

We do have the cool season cover crops Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch, and Elbon Rye in now. Plant now through the first of November in fallow gardens or in bare spots of your yard if the city will allow it.

Plan for hardscape jobs now: Deciding now on what you have wanted to build in your yard will allow easier planning before the unpredictable weather interferes with your work. We can help you with whatever you need. See our “Services” tab on
www.beorganic.com or www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Rohdes_Services_We_Offer.htm.

VEGETABLES, HERBS & ANNUAL FRUITS

If you’re not planting a fall garden, don’t leave the beds baron. Leaving the mulch on the beds is OK, but a cover crop would be better. A cover crop is a special plant or group of plants that is grown to protect and improve the soil when a cash crop like garden crops are not grown. We have winter cover crop seed of Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch pea, and Elbon Rye. These are the three most popular and beneficial cool season cover crops here.
See http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Cover_Crops.htm.

Garden Fertilizing:

Spray liquid fertilizers every week or two, like Green Sense Fish Emulsion, GS Fish and Kelp, Aunt Rohde’s Compost Tea, or GS Foliar Juice. Add GS Garlic Extract to help repeal bugs and help control fungal problems. Use GS Lawn and Garden pelletized fertilizer to water-in, or one of our other granulated fertilizers to side-dress or to mixed into the soil, once a month in your garden. Addition of blood meal and the liquid fertilizers breakdown faster to get the plants growing quickly for a better harvest before the freezes come in November, provided we have a winter.

The following list vegetables normally planted in October (or later), but also includes late September vegetables you still might get away in growing. Dates are for seeds unless specified: S=Seed, T=Transplants.:

Vegetable

Soil Temperatures

Fall Planting
Dates

Min

Optimum
Range

Max

Artichoke (Globe) (Cynara scolymus)

25, 45

>50, 70-80

>85 dormant

Aug 1 (S)
Oct 1 (T)

Beans, Lima Pole (Phaseolus limensis)

60

65-85

85

Aug 15 - Sep 20

Beans, Pinto (Phaseolus vulgaris)

60

60-85

95

Aug 1 - Sep 20

Beans, Snap Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis)

55-60

60-85

95

Aug 1 - Sep 20

Beans, Yellow Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis)

60

60-85

95

Aug 1 - Sep 20

Beets (Beta vulgaris)

40-45

50-85

95

Sep 6 - Sep 30

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), plants

40

45-85

90

Jul 26 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea)

40

68-75

85

Aug 9 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), plants

40-50

45-95

100

Jul 26 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Cabbage, Chinese (Brassica pekinensis)

50

50-80

100

Aug 9 - Aug 23 (S)
Aug 23 - Sep 15 (T)

Carrot (Daucus carota var. sativus)

40-50

45-85

90-95

Aug 9 - Sep

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), plants

40

45-85

90-100

Jul 26 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Chard, Swiss (Beta vulgaris var. cicla)

40

50-85

95-100

Jul 26 - Sep 15

Collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

40-50

60-70

85

Aug 23 - Sep 20

Garlic (Allium sativum)

<65

85

Sep 15 - Oct 18

Tyfon Or Holland Greens (hybrid of Chinese cabbage x stubble turnip)

Aug 25 - Oct 1

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

40-50

70-75

90-100

Aug 15 - Oct 15

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum ), seeds

40

60-70

90

Sep 10 - Oct 1 (S)
Oct 1 - Nov 1 (T)

Lettuce, Butterhead (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Lettuce, Cos or Romaine (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

70-85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Lettuce, Head (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Lettuce, Leaf (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

70-85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Onion, Bulbing (Allium cepa)
Seeds/Transplants (Slips) for this year bulbs

35-50

50-95

90-95

Sep 1 - Oct 15 (S)
N.R. (T)

Onion, Bunching [Scallions] (Allium cepa)
Seeds/Transplants (Sets) for scallions this year

35-50

50-95

90-95

Sep 1 - Oct 15 (S,T)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

40-50

50-85

90

Jul 26 - Oct 4

Peas, English (Pisum sativum)

40

40-75

80-85

Aug 23 - Nov 1

Radish (Raphanus sativus)

40

45-90

90-95

Sep 20 - Nov 15

Rutabaga (Brassica napus var. napobrassica)

40

45-85

Aug 1 - Oct 15

Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis)

Maybe Sep or Fall

Shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) (like onions)

45-95

Sep 1 - Oct 15 (S,T)

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

35-40

45-75

85-100

Jul 26 - Nov 1

Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapifera)

40

60-105

100-105

Aug 1 - Nov 1

See http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Rohdes_Planting_Dates,_Spring_Fall.htm for the whole planting charts with explanations of columns, sources, and other information.

FLOWERS & ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

We will not get fall and winter annual color in this year, but we are having a 30% to 50% sale on the annuals or perennials we do have in stock.

For any new plantings, fertilize initially with a fast release organic fertilizer like blood meal and/or a liquid GreenSense Fish Solubles, GS Fish & Kelp, or GS Foliar Juice to get the cool season flowers started quickly and the roots established before the freezes come.

Wildflowers:

You can plant wildflowers transplants almost any time as with most perennials. If you are going to sow seeds, there is minimum soil temperatures needed for germination. If the soil is too cold, the seeds will lie dormant until the soil warms in the spring. In our zone 8a, fall is the best time to sow seeds; last half of September thru November. This is from the first fall rains to the first freeze of the year, usually in November. You want the soil to be warm enough for the seeds to germinate during a time of reliable rainfall. The roots will grow during the winter allowing good flower production in the spring.

For spring flowering flowers including blue bonnets, plant as soon as you can this month to give them time to build up nutrients to flower well in the spring.

Here’s good instructions:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/tamuhort.html
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/growing/whentoplant.html
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/growing/howtoplant.html
http://www.plantanswers.com/wildflower_planting_fall.htm
http://www.seedsource.com/garden/planting.asp
http://www.seedsource.com/downloads/NAScatalog_Howtogrownativeseed.pdf
https://www.wildflower.org/learn/how-to
Sally and Andy Wasowski’s book Native Texas Plants, Landscaping Region by Region

Bring Plants Inside for Winter

October is the month to prepare those plants you want to bring inside for the winter. These plants are usually tropical or semi-tropical “House Plants” that should have been planted in pots in anticipation of being over wintered indoors or in a greenhouse. Otherwise they would be used as annuals and allowed to die in the winter.

These plants can’t take temperatures below 45oF usually, and nights during October can drop into the 50’s and 40’s. This month is when you normally turn off the A/C and open windows. This will make acclimating the plants to indoor temperature and humidity easier as it should be the same inside and out. Indoors will be darker though, so move the plants to a lightly shaded area outdoors, progressing to a heavily shady area, during a two week period.

If you don’t turn off the climate controls to the house, you can bring the plants in for the night for a few days, then bring the plants indoors in the evening though the night for a few days, then during the day while at work for a few days, while taking them outside in the shade in-between their indoor stints for a couple of weeks. Point of this is to slowly increase the plants’ time inside the house with drier, warmer, darker conditions. (I of course wait until they are at risk of freezing to bring them in, but don't you do this).

What you don’t want to bring in are bugs. Spray your plants thoroughly with half ounce of GreensSense Citrus oil per gallon of water ), organic insecticidal plant oils, or insecticidal soap per instructions. You may have to do this two, maybe three times, at least three days apart, during their time outside. This may be overkill, but dealing with aphids, mealybugs, and scale on a lot of plants, indoors, during the winter, is a pain in the butt. Also drench the pot with neem oil, plant oil products, or two ounces per gallon citrus oil. Leaving the pot in a saucer and letting the drench fill and soak the bottom of the pot where the drainage medium is, for a few minutes will ensure getting all of the bugs hiding there. Too long can hurt the roots though so rinse out the soil afterwards. Commercial products should include adjuvants, surfactants, wetting agents, or whatever, to break the surface tension of the spray or drench to help wet the dry surfaces of the foliage and soil. For home made products, you can add a teaspoon at most of plain liquid dishwashing soap per finished gallon of spray or drench, or recommended amount of insecticidal soap, Bio-Wash, or Plant Wash. Addition of Green Sense Kelp Extract and/or Liquid Molasses should help either of the spray or drench. Lightly dusting diatomaceous earth on the soil of the pot will also help while the plants are inside. Mosquito Bits and nematodes in your pots will help with fungus gnats when inside.

Trim your hanging baskets and container plants before you bring inside to give them a few weeks to re-grow and fill in to look better.

Cut back on fertilizing for the winter also. Don’t fertilize at all if the plants will go dormant during the winter.

With larger plants like small palm or citrus trees, I tie a length of soft rolled plastic gardening, safety, or small livestock fence, four to six feet tall, around the pot and pull it up like a girdle to condense the spread of the plant. I can cram more of them into the sun room. Cinch off the bottom of the fence with rope, to constrict it around the trunk, and to prevent it from pulling all the way off as you girdle the plant. I place them on a 3/4” piece of plywood with five (don’t use four) casters on the bottom, to move around for cleaning, or rolling outside on good days to leach the soil out. You can tie a pull cord on an edge of the plywood, or leave a hole to hook with a handle to ease pulling around.

Take Cuttings

To save space, and cheaply increase the numbers of plants, you can take a cutting of what you want to over winter indoor. This can work on your favorite tender perennials to ensure they make the winter, your annuals to get a jump on spring, or your tropical house plants. We carry an organic rooting gel and Green Sense Kelp Extract that contain growth regulators, including cytokinins, auxins, and gibberellins.
See http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8702.html, and http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southerngarden/roseprop.html, along with many other sites on the internet.

Ornamental Grasses are on sale for 30% off.

TREES, SHRUBS, & VINES

Plant

Call for availability on any plants you decide on.

If we get a cool wet fall and winter, that would be the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. Plants endure less stress, and their roots have months to grow and become established before summer's heat. You still need to monitor the root ball for watering. The root ball will dry out before the surrounding soil. Stick a finger or stick into the root ball to see if it is dry 2 to 4 inches down depending on size of plant. If so, water. Check every day until you get an idea on how often you should water. Regular lawn watering will probably not be enough for newly planted shrubs and trees.

Choose plants in containers. Smaller container plants can get established quicker as the roots are less disturbed from repotting, has less girdling of the root ball, and so grow faster than larger potted or balled & burlapped plants.

Ask about our delivery, planting, and warranties. Don’t forget the soil amendments; Green Sense Kelp Extracts for root stimulation, Green Sense Mycor granules to inoculate plants with mycorrhizae fungi, both bulk and bagged compost, well composted bagged manures, and a variety of mulches.

Fall color will vary greatly from year to year, even on the same tree. Most dependable in our area, however, are Shumard Red Oak, Ginkgo, Chinese Pistachio, Sweetgum in sandy soils, Bigtooth Maple, and Crape Myrtles. Pick your trees in their fall colors if this is an important aspect for purchasing the trees.

Consider some rarely used trees this fall. Larger trees to consider; Montezuma Cypress, Cedar Elm, Lacey Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Texas Ash, Mexican Sycamore, or Bur Oak. Some smaller trees to look at; Texas Mountain-Laurel, Desert-Willow, Eve's Necklace, Goldenball Leadtree, or American Smoketree.

Hollies and nandinas are good for foundation plantings. They come in manageable heights and have a variety of different leaf shapes, colors, and styles.

Pick some fruiting or berry plants for the birds:

·         American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) French mulberry. Deciduous. Clustered purple berries.

·         Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) Favorite among birds. 15-20 feet tall. Fast-growing, glossy evergreen. Loamy, well-draining soil. Drought-tolerant in these conditions. White blooms in spring, black fruit in fall. Compact hybrids are available.

·         Holly (Ilex cornuta, 'Nellie R. Stevens,' or Burford) Red Berries.

·         Juniper (Juniperus virginiana) Juniperus of the family Cupressaceae. Birds eat the blue berries.

·         Mexican plum tree (Prunus mexicana) 15- to 35-foot-tall native Bees and butterflies love the flowers. Small purple plums Sun to dappled shade in a well-draining soil.

·         Pyracantha (Pyracantha coccinea) Fall red berries. Fermented berries can intoxicate birds. Thorny so good for nesting.

·         Southern Magnolia. (Magnolia grandiflora) Large, cone like fruits that follow the blooms open to reveal several dozen bright red seeds which are eaten by squirrels and a number of bird species. Smaller hybrids such as "Little Gem” are available.

·         Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum) Sweet Viburnum. Berries turn from red to black. Best in partial shade.

·         Yaupon Holly. (Ilex vomitoria) drought-resistant evergreen native. Small red berries on female plant. Takes sun to shade, poor drainage and varying soils.

Pruning:

Prune storm damaged trees and shrubs and dead parts. Wait until a hard freeze of 28 degrees or lower, when the trees are dormant to do major non-critical, aesthetic pruning. Usually January to first half of February. Do tag now what you want to prune in winter.

Don’t prune Oaks trees that are susceptible to Oak Wilt disease until the coldest part of winter, January to mid February, unless there is storm damage. The insect disease carrier, the Sap Beetle, will be active until it get cold. It is very important to apply Rohde’s Green Sense Tree Goop to the wounds immediately and to insure it stays on for 2 days till the wound’s sap hardens.

Root- prune and top-prune native plants that you want to dig up and move in winter.

Fertilize:

Fertilize your landscape every 3 or 4 months.

Roses

Don't fertilize after the beginning of October.

Prune twiggy, crossing, or dead canes. All foliage is left on the bush. Labor Day, first Monday in September, is the standard time to do this, but this month is still good. Remove suckering growth by cutting the canes off as close to the root stock trunk as possible. For climbers, to encourage growth of more flowering laterals and stimulate production of new canes, do not cut back long canes unless they are outgrowing the allotted space. Everblooming varieties are cut back to two or three bud eyes on all laterals that bore flowers during the past year. For established plants, oldest canes are removed annually at the base. Ramblers and once blooming varieties should be pruned after blooming as they bloom on year old wood.

Once the weather begins to cool off and the early morning and nights become more humid, watch for both fungus and insect problems.

Some good websites for roses:
Howard Garrett has an Organic Rose Program you can follow to ensure the best care of your roses.
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Rose-Organic-Program_vq2602.htm
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Rose-Pruning-Newsletter_vq4892.htm.

http://www.plantanswers.com/publications/roses/rose.html, though this is for south central Texas and is not strictly organic, most of it still applies to us in Dallas.

American Rose Society:
http://www.ars.org/.

Watch for aphids, spider mites and thrips:
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Aphids_vq758.htm,
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Spider-Mites_vq604.htm
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Thrips-Can-Be-Stopped-Before-Ruining-Roses_vq5322.htm)

Be aware of Rose Rosette disease that has been very prevalent the last few years. Here’s some more recent articles explaining most of what is known, unknown, history, and what is being done:
http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/home-and-gardening/headlines/20150218-deadly-virus-is-killing-rosebushes-in-north-texas.ece
https://portal.nifa.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/1004350-combatting-rose-rosette-disease-short-and-long-term-approaches.html
https://www.facebook.com/tamuroses
http://www.ballpublishing.com/GrowerTalks/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=22185
http://whatsupaggiehort.blogspot.com/2016/02/tamu-rose-breeding-genetics-program.html

http://www.rose.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Rose-Rosette.pdf: This article has a picture of the mite.
https://ashs.confex.com/ashs/2015/recordingredirect.cgi/id/1646: Here’s a poster of what’s happening.

https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Rose-Rosette-Newsletter_vq3835.htm
https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Rose-Rosette-Update-3215_vq4313.htm
http://www.ccmgatx.org/gardening-resources/videos/rose-rosette-disease.aspx
http://neilsperry.com/notes/2015/03/rose-rosette-disease/

Other Jobs

Harvest pecans as they fall to the ground, as they rot quickly.

Clean up fallen leaves, particularly around fruit and nut trees to prevent over wintering of pests and disease. Compost the yard litter well to destroy any pathogens. May need to shred the litter and subject it to solarization prior to composting. Solarization is commonly used to control weeds and pests in the soil prior to planting. Expose well-moistened crop residues-- layered and sealed between two sheets of clear plastic--to several days of Texas sunshine to effectively destroy pests and disease organisms. This is a lot of trouble though. I compost some of my red oak leaves, but I think I would compost disease prone leaves in a different pile, and put the compost in a different part of the yard, like the front instead of the back, or just send them to the great city landfill/compost pile.

Spray weeds and grass around tree trunks with vinegar. Use GreenSense 8% Vinegar with one ounce orange oil, one tablespoon molasses and one teaspoon liquid soap per gallon. Better to physically clear the grass away from the trunk of trees as far as you think is visually appealing (more the better for the tree) and replace with compost and/or mulch, leaving a clear area directly against the trunk. Clear away soil to expose the root flare if the tree is planted too far in the ground.

LAWN, TURF GRASSES & GROUND COVERS

Plant

If you want a green lawn all winter, overseed with the perennial variety of rye grass toward the end of the month. Cut the current grass low and apply the rye at the rate of 6 pounds per 1000 square feet. We don’t recommend doing this though, as its presences can slows down the warm season grasses’ emergence from winter dormancy in the spring. The resulting slow and thin growth can invite weeds, and maybe fungal problems. Don’t over seed a St. Augustine lawn. Zoysia and Bermuda takes overseeding a little better. Plant perennial rye instead of annual rye. Annual rye grows faster so needs more mowing, watering, & fertilizing, plus it’s more disease prone. Perennial rye grass establishes faster than Fescue and is more durable, but Fescue is needed if there is shade. Both can be used to quickly cover bare soils to protect from erosion until St. Augustine or Bermuda can be installed in the summer. There are Intermediate Rye grasses that are a cross between annual rye and perennial rye where the breeder tries to get the fast initial growth and shorter life in spring to avoid stunting the permanent grasses, and the better looks, durability, and disease resistance of perennial rye. A thick winter grass may cut down on spring weeds germinating also.

You can sod your lawn anytime the soil can be worked. It’s like a perennial. The grass will be cold hardy if the roots have time to established though, so this month is the last good time to lay sod. During the late fall and winter, the grass blades will not grow, but the roots will when the soil is above freezing. Re-sodding your lawn is the best control of weeds if your St Augustine died out, and is the best way to re-establish it. Call Rohde’s to help you with this.

We don’t carry sod, but if you want to plant it, get it from a full-time grass nursery as we do. The sod will be fresher, excellent quality with little or no weed problems. Neil Sperry says you can look at the bottom of the sod to see the nuts of nutsedge. You may be able to see tap roots of other weeds too. Good advice. Also look for little beige balls or pearls around the roots of the grass. These are ground pearls, an insidious scale insect that covers itself with a waxy covering to protect itself from all means of eradication with poisons. Once you have it, it will eat the grass roots until they are gone. This is another reason to buy sod from a reputable source. Laying sod is a lot of trouble, but you can call Rohde's for help.

Information on newer turf grass varieties from Texas A&M:
http://dallas.tamu.edu/news/2017/foxturfsegment/: Video on A&M’s new TamStar St Augustine grass.
http://dallas.tamu.edu/research/turf/
http://dallas.tamu.edu/media/1143/turfgrass-varieties-for-licensing.pdf
http://dallas.tamu.edu/media/1210/tamstar-one-pager.pdf : TamStar, A&M’s latest new “super” St Augustine grass release.

Whatever you do, don’t leave the soil bare. At least cover it with compost.

http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/cool-season
Optimum soil temperatures for seed germination of cool-season turfgrasses.

Species

Temperatures (°F)

Tall fescue

68 - 86

Perennial ryegrass

68 - 86

Annual ryegrass

68 - 86

Fertilize

If you have not fertilized in the last 3 or 4 months, do so this month. Fall is the most important lawn fertilization of the year. It will promote strong cold hardy root growth through the winter and help the grass give better weed resistance and growth in the spring. Roots and microbe still grow during the winter as long as the soil is at least 40°F or warmer. Use organic GreenSense All Purpose Lawn & Garden fertilizer of course.

Applying a different soil supplement like Greensand, Humate, Dry Molasses, or Sul-Po-Mag each time you fertilize can be beneficial. Greensand and Sul-Po-Mag can supply too much Potassium or Phosphate. A soil test would decide whether to use them or not. You may find you don’t have to use Greensand or Sul-Po-Mag more than once a year, or even once every two years. They are slow release minerals, so applying now will allow the minerals to be available in the spring for new growth. Humate and Dry Molasses don’t supply appreciable amounts of major nutrients and can safely be used more often. Humate need be used only once or twice a year. Dry Molasses can be used spring and fall to stimulate cold soil microbes and during the summer for a fire ant repellant. The minerals in Greensand & Humate will help keep the grass green and help prevent chlorosis.

Spread 1/2” layer of compost to poorly growing parts of the lawn at least, and the whole lawn preferably.
Some people once they have built up compost in their yards, can apply a half inch of compost to their yard in the spring and a half inch in the fall for all their lawn’s yearly fertilizing needs. Rohde’s can do this for you, or you can purchase our bulk compost if you have a pickup or trailer, or rent a truck. We can deliver up to 5 cubic yards at one time for the same delivery charge. Sling the compost around with a shovel, flick it off a shovel full, or dump piles around the yard with a shovel, and use a rake and push broom to spread it around and into the grass at a half inch depth. If the depth is any deeper, the grass may think it is the new soil level and will grow roots into it. When the compost breaks down into the soil, it will leave thatch behind.

Watering, Mowing, Trimming

With cooler wetter weather, you can lower the mower now for some grasses to help it dry out and to lessen lawn fungus problems.
See http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Mowing_and_Watering_the_Lawn.htm for more information.

Pests, Disease, & Weeds

Lawn fungus can be a problem now. Take All Root Rot (TARR) and Large/Brown Patch can be encouraged this time of year during the cool rainy weather. Though you may see the symptoms during the fall, you may not see problems until your warm season grasses come up the following spring. Bring in a section of sod along the edge of the good and bad parts for us to identify the problem. We have Serenade, granulated sulfur, and Peat Moss for control if you think you have a lawn fungus. It may be left over drought damage or chinch bugs though. A half inch of compost in the bad areas will work wonders. Aeration will help also. Call us and we can help you with these applications.

See the Agrilifebookstore for free downloads of their information bulletins (you will have to sign up):
http://www.agrilifebookstore.org/Warm-Season-Turfgrass-Disease-Management-p/e-306.htm
http://www.agrilifebookstore.org/Take-All-Root-Rot-p/e-615.htm
http://www.agrilifebookstore.org/Chinch-Bugs-in-St-Augustine-Lawns-p/e-420.htm

Grubs:

It is cool enough to use nematodes to help control grub worms if you have a problem with them.
See: http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Chinch_Bugs_Chiggers_Grub_Worms.htm for more information.
Also see: http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Rohdes_Nematode_Application_Instructions.htm

If you think you have disease or pest problems with your lawn, it is best to bring into the store, a clump of grass with roots and dirt from the boundary of brown and green grass for us to see if we can narrow down the problem. We have Actinovate, Serenade, corn meal, and peat moss for fungal problems. Insecticidal oils and diatomaceous earth for chinch bugs. Bt products for sod web worms and army worms.

OTHER THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

Days are becoming shorter. Consider all the things you couldn't do last winter because of the dark evenings. Plan now and get your chores done while it is comfortable and we are still in daylight saving time. If need be, we can always help you with the work.

This is the best time of the year to design a new landscape and dig new beds. Current plantings can be moved after they go dormant if need be, it’s not too cold to work the soil, and the holidays haven’t used up all of your disposable income. Come to Rohde’s and let Sally, our landscaping designer help you with your designs, or talk to Greg Rohde about any help in your landscape.
See our “Services” tab on www.beorganic.com or www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Rohdes_Services_We_Offer.htm.

Add mulch and/or compost to bare or thin ground. We have bagged and bulk compost and bagged mulch, all 30% off this month.

Leave will be falling soon. Don’t throw them out. Start a compost pile.

Pine needles will be falling too. Junipers and Arborvitae also begin shedding needles at this time of year. If you have access, scarf them up for excellent mulch. It’s long lasting, mildly acidic, and repels slugs and snails from your plants.

Don’t forget the wildlife. We carry bird feeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths, also on sale this month for .30% off. You can put out different feeders for different seeds or suet, suitable to particular birds, so the different species don’t have to compete with each other. Try squirrel feeders. It will keep them out of the bird feeders somewhat, and they can be very entertaining themselves. Purchase now for gifts and for best selection. We carry an excellent selection of bird food from single seed to mixes, and from single pound purchases to 50 pound bags. Bird food and Cat and Dog foods are unfortunately not on sale.

Bird bathes are important for watering birds as well as bathing, and they supply water for animals other than birds. Cats, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and insects will all use them. They can be heated to keep them from freezing in the winter too.

Have your landscape and garden soil tested to know how to prepare your gardens and lawns. Rohde's recommends
"Texas Plant & Soil Lab" at 5115 West Monte Cristo Road, Edinburg, Texas 78541-8852, 956-383-0739. They can give you organic recommendations.

Most of this calendar is designed for Dallas, Tx in USDA Hardiness Zone 8a, with a predominant soil type of blackland prairie clay.