Tending to early fall chores
Each season in the garden brings ideal opportunities to make the most of what we have. Early fall is no exception.
•If you are fortunate enough to have apple trees, you have no doubt been harvesting apples for some time. This has been a good year for apples in Iowa, and the harvesting began a little earlier than usual. Be sure to sort apples by size, using the largest first as they don’t store as well as smaller fruit. For long-term storage, apples favor temperatures near 32 degrees F and high humidity. Place apples in perforated plastic bags, and use a second refrigerator, cellar, unheated outbuilding, or garage. When extremely cold weather threatens, apples stored in unheated spaces will need to be moved.
•Mark your calendar with a reminder to dig tender bulbs such as gladiola, canna and dahlias this month.
•On a clear, dry day, pick flowers and herbs for drying.
•Identify areas where you want to plant spring-blooming bulbs, but wait for colder temperatures before planting.
•If we continue to experience dry weather, then water young shrubs and trees consistently.
•Establish a plan for controlling broadleaf weeds in your lawn. Small areas may be weeded successfully by pulling and digging after a rainfall. Be sure to aim for “capture” of entire root systems. If you have extensive lawns, you may opt for chemical controls.
Remember that the most effective products combine two or three herbicides as no one compound controls all broadleaf weeds.
If you choose to spray, use a nozzle that produces coarse droplets and use low sprayer pressure. Keep the nozzle close to the ground. These precautions, along with common-sense avoidance of windy days, should prevent spray drift.
Another option is granular herbicides which are often combined with fertilizers. These must be applied when foliage is wet and when the lawn has not been freshly mowed as these herbicides are absorbed through foliage.
Watch weather forecasts, and do not apply if rain is expected within the next day or two. Wait for three or four days before mowing after application.