Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2004
Regional Report

Create a Colorful Autumn Garden

If you want to add color to the garden now, plant asters. You can see natives in bloom along roadsides and in open fields. The New England aster is readily available in a wide variety of colors and can be planted with Russian sage and ornamental grasses for a wonderful autumn display.

Reduce Watering

Cooler temperatures and shorter days mean it's time to cut back on watering. Plants are preparing for winter and need to harden off. Scale back watering to once a week, and water only if the soil is getting dry. Check soil moisture by probing the soil with a long screwdriver or garden trowel.

Fertilize Cool-Season Lawns

If you didn't fertilize your lawn during the Labor Day weekend, take time to do it soon. This is one of the best times of year to apply a fall fertilizer to cool-season grasses. It will help them store carbohydrates for winter survival and strengthen the lawn as well. Use a fertilizer formulated for your area.

Keep Weeds at Bay

Don't retire the garden hoe quite yet. It is important to hoe, dig, and pull weeds before they go to seed. This will reduce overpopulation next season. Weeds that have produced seed heads should not be put into the compost pile. Instead, stick the buggers in a large plastic bag and dispose of them.

Visit Local Nurseries and Garden Centers

Many local garden retailers are having sales on trees, shrubs, and vines. Fall is a good time for planting, but the earlier you can get new plants in the ground, the better. They need time to develop a strong root system in order to survive the winter.

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