Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation
It has been a busy Sunday afternoon in August with the summer temperatures starting to cool and a cooler than usual September in the forecast. I took the time today to give the garden a face lift and rejuvenate some of my fading perennials. By the time late July and August roll around various perennials are starting to show signs of fall mode with yellowing and dying foliage as they are starting to go dormant. Perennials such as daylily go dormant at the end of summer into fall but there are methods to extend the bloom time right into mid to late September. With certain species of long blooming daylily such as ‘Stella D Oro’ there is a trick I learned initially by accident.
Daylily Rejuvenation-Growth Going Dormant
I had some late summer garden maintenance done a few years ago and the crew had cut the yellowing daylilies back to about four inches from the ground. At first I was taken by surprise but within a couple of weeks I had brand new vibrant green foliage and blooms that lasted well into fall. From that time on I continued to follow this ritual of cutting back my lilies starting at the end of July and into mid-August so that I could enjoy constant blooms. The procedure is quite simple and I stage the rejuvenation at different times for the various locations of lilies in my garden. Starting at the end of July and into late August I carefully remove expired yellowed foliage on my perennial daylilies down to new growth which is approximately four to five inches above the ground. I actually perform this by hand but you can also use pruning shears and if there are any blooms on the plant you can leave them to enjoy. This ritual of removing dead foliage stimulates the plant to produce healthy new leaves and blooms and also prevents the onset of fungal disease that can occur at this time of year with decaying foliage.
Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation of Daylilies-Just Cut Back
I also remove the expired scapes (bloom bearing stalks) from the plants as soon as they turn brown throughout the entire season which stimulates new blooms. The photograph on the left shows how the stalks should appear when you remove them. It is easy to know when this should be done since the stalks with seed heads will very easily pull out without any effort. The photograph on the right shows newly cut foliage right after rejuvenation. Once your daylilies are cut back be sure they continue to receive watering. In no time you will have plants that appear as they do in early spring bursting with beautiful new growth and flowers. Once the plants have had their final bloom into the fall allow the foliage to die completely back and then remove any decaying debris from around the plant and apply a thin layer of mulch.
Rejuvenated Daylily After One Month
This method also works with other varieties of daylily with a shorter bloom time such as ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘Sammy Russell’ but should be performed in July after these plants are done blooming. Other perennials such a Salvia also benefit from a mid-late summer pruning which is explained in this article. If you are looking to extend the enjoyment of your summer garden rejuvenation is a simple and quick process well worth the time for it will prolong your enjoyment of blooms well into fall.
As Always…Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2014, All Rights Reserved
Often my customers will inquire as to when is the best time to start a seed lawn. The ideal time is now-between mid-August and mid-September here on Long Island and anywhere the season is changing from summer to fall. It is also a good time for core-aeration and overseeding to help enhance the health and vitality of your turf.
CORE AERATION: a process in which a machine is used to poke holes in the lawn to provide aeration. In compacted lawns core aeration improves soil drainage and oxygen flow by loosening the soil. It is best to core-aerate when you are overseeding an existing lawn.
OVER-SEEDING: Over-seeding fills in the gaps in the lawn that need fixing. The best way to overseed is to dethatch and aerate the lawn, add new topsoil where needed, then reseed and use a top-dress of pennmulch seed accelerator to help the seed along. Keep the lawn watered (moist) until the new seed germinates.
STEPS TO SEEDING A LAWN: First clear the area of existing lawn and debris. Then bring in a good quality organic topsoil and grade the area being seeded. Apply a starter fertilizer and lime according to the spreading rate on the bag. Use a hand tamper or water roller to firm the soil then rake the top layer to loosen the planting layer. Use the appropriate type of seed for your location and conditions of sunlight. There are many brands on the market and yes…price does matter! The cheaper brands are not better. In the case of seed look for a good professional blend of preferably a tall fescue and rye mix. Also keep in mind that there are varieties of seed for full sun to shade and that seed will not geminate if it is too shady (full shade). Ask your professional for advice. Once your area is prepared use a spreader to apply your seed at the recommended rate on the packaging and lightly rake or roll the seed into the soil. Apply pennmulch topping to keep in moisture and help the seed to germinate. Water a couple times a day at 10-15 minutes intervals to keep the seed just slightly moist…do not overwater! The seed will take about a week or so to start germinating. Mow for the first time when your lawn has grown to a normal mowing height of approximately six to eight inches.
Author: Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved