Mid-Atlantic

October, 2011
Regional Report

Divide Lilyturf

Lilyturf, a.k.a. monkey grass, (Liriope spicata and L. muscari) is a semi-evergreen border perennial or groundcover that resembles well-behaved grass. Lilyturf grows in clumps that enlarge every season. They benefit from being divided in fall or spring. Clumps are clusters of small bulbs. Each plant consists of several green blades from one small bulb. Dividing is easy. Dig up a clump. It will likely naturally break into several sections. You can wash off the soil and pull apart the bulbs and roots, or you can just cut a large clump into three or four pieces. Transplant at same depth as the original plant.

Divide Daylilies, Irises, Daisies

Overcrowded perennials won't bloom as well as those with adequate space and nutrients. Carefully dig up overgrown perennials, damaging as little of the roots or rhizomes as possible. Check roots and rhizomes for rot and insect damage. Toss any damaged or infested pieces. Transplant the healthy parts.

Sow Greens in A Cold Frame

Early fall is a great time to sow salad crops in a cold frame for harvest in late fall and early winter. Bok choy, lettuce, mesclun, kale, mustard, and spinach are some good vegetables to try.

Cut Back Dead Flower Stalks

Many a helenium and aster have finished blooming for this season. Groom tall perennials such as helenium, ironweed, asters and helianthus by cutting off the long stems with dead flowers low to the ground, as close to the healthy basil foliage as possible.

Clip and Save Spent Coneflower and Rudbeckia Flowers

Maybe you have too many or don't care for the look of dead coneflowers and black-eyed Susan flowers. The birds enjoy their seeds though. Clip off stems with the seed heads and put them in an attractive pot, bowl, or bucket for the birds to fly to and dine. Place the container outside a large window, then watch the birds feast on the seeds.

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