The Home Garden Calendar
January Gardening Notes
BAGWORMS - Pick or cut from Evergreen trees (arborvitae,
juniper, hemlock, larch, pine). Use Christmas tree branches to cover bulbs, perennial
CARPENTER ANTS - may be found in damp wood. Check living
quarters as well as attic and cellars. After you locate, apply a labeled insecticide to
the opening. Two excellent fact sheets are available on these critters. Send a
self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to Rutgers Cooperative Extension -Agric.,
P.O. Box 6000, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060. Request FS006 and FS028.
CARE OF GARDEN TOOLS - This is a good time to clean garden
tools and get them into good working condition (if you haven't done so already).
HOUSEPLANTS NEED CARE DURING WINTER MONTHS
When the heat goes on in the house and daylight becomes shorter,
houseplants begin to yellow and drop their leaves. It may be necessary to move the plants
to a different location in the home, and to give them different treatments from what was
given during the summer.
Flowering plants need at least a day of direct sunlight to develop
flower buds. Cacti and many succulents require a sunny location and coleus and crotons
need direct sun to maintain their decorative foliage colors.
Foliage plants, such as ivies, philodendrons, foliage begonias, and
peperomias, do well in indirect light rather than direct sunlight. African violets and
gloxinias, which require indirect, bright light during the summer, need more direct light
Plants for decorative accents in a room may get insufficient light.
Rotation to a bright light area every few days is suggested; or as an alternative, have
two sets of plants and shift them every week so that one set receives normal light.
Ideal temperatures for foliage plants are 68-70 degrees during the
day and slightly lower at night. Flowering plants retain blossoms longer at the lower
Plants can be watered from the top, bottom, or by automatic means,
but make sure there is good drainage so that water does not stand in the pot and soil.
Plants in clay pots need watering more frequently than do those in glazed or plastic pots.
If plants have been re-potted in the fall into a soil containing
fertilizer, they probably will not need more fertilizer until spring, but if a soilless
mix has been used they will need regular fertilizing. One teaspoon of 5-10-5 or 4-12-4
fertilizer in a quart of water applied every 8-10 weeks is advised. Patented fertilizers
in powder, liquid, or tablet form may be used following the manufacturer's directions.
Wash the leaves regularly to remove dust accumulations, but do not
use any oily substance on the leaves to keep them shiny--it attracts dust. Turn plants
occasionally to expose all sides to the light source.
February Gardening Notes
STORM DAMAGE TO TREES - Some trees which have been damaged by
storms will start to bleed (lose sap) in February. Trees such as maple, beech, dogwood,
elm, and sycamore are "bleeder" trees. Even though it's a good time to prune
most trees, wait until the 'bleeder' trees come into full leaf later this spring to prune.
An exception would be if the trees have diseased, dead, or damaged branches that may
either be dangerous or unhealthy for the tree.
PRUNE SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS IN WINTER? - A good time to
remove old, weak wood with a few buds. In fact, pruning will increase vigor and improve
structure of plant.
PRUNING GRAPES & FRUIT TREES - Weather permitting, it's
not too early to prune grapes and fruit trees, especially apples. Before arming yourself
with pruning shears, be sure you know the proper methods. Read up on it.
START PLANNING YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN - Get out the seed
catalog. Garden with a pencil and draw up your plans. Keep card index of your selection of
vegetables and flower varieties. Choose varieties well-adapted to New Jersey conditions,
of relatively high quality, dependable, have disease or insect resistance when possible,
and have a fairly long harvest period. Don't be in too big a hurry to start seeds indoors.
Read directions on label of time to sow seeds keeping in mind that our frost-free date
is about May 10. Seeds planted too early get leggy. Remember to harden off transplants
a few weeks before setting out (place outside for a few hours each day, gradually
increasing the amount of time you leave them outdoors. Usually after 7-10 days they should
be ready. Also cut down on water at this time).
INSPECT STORED ROOTS & BULBS - January & February are
good times to check on your roots and bulbs. They all keep best in a cool, airy storage
area (40 degrees F.). If gladiolus show signs of thrips underneath outer husks of corms,
fumigate with about one handful of naphthalene flakes (moth flakes) per 100 corms. Cover
with paper. If proper amount is used, they will evaporate rather quickly (about 5 weeks).
Mold on dahlia roots indicates more air needed. Never store bulbs more than 2-3 layers
deep since deep piles generate heat and decay. Mice a problem? Enclose bulbs in fine, wire
netting or put in paper bags hung by strings from ceiling or wall.
FORCING SHRUBS & TREES TO BLOOM INDOORS - Select
well-budded branches of forsythia, crabapple, flowering quince, or pussy willow. Prune
branches flush with main branch so no stubs are left. A clean cut heals better and
prevents rotting of the stub. Shred or mash the cut end of the stem to encourage water
intake. Place cut branches in a container of water in a cool, dimly-lit area until the
buds begin to swell and show color. At that time arrange and move into a well-lit area.
IT'S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT GETTING YOUR SOIL TESTED.
Remember...it takes about 3-4 weeks to get results. Never wait until planting time and
expect a soil test right away. For further information on obtaining a soil test bag, check
the soil test information page.
March Gardening Notes
DORMANT OIL CONTROL - for many pests. Dormant oil is a
specially prepared oil spray available at your garden supply store. One spray can reduce
need for later spraying for control of mites, mealybugs, soft-scale insects, and some
armoured scales. The time to spray is usually before buds swell but, again, always read
the label carefully. Apply only to established infestations...spray thoroughly. Do not use
on Japanese maples, beech, birch, hickory, walnut, and butternut. DO NOT SPRAY WHEN
TEMPERATURES ARE GOING TO BE LOWER THAN 45 DEGREES FOR NEXT 24 HOURS.
REMOVE TENT CATERPILLAR EGG MASSES - see the web page for
"SWARMERS" FIRST SIGN OF TERMITE TROUBLE - swarming
termites shed wings shortly after emerging and wings may be found on floors, windowsills,
or doorways. Flying ants have a nipped-in-waist (thorax), termites do not. Your Rutgers
Cooperative Extension office will identify samples. They must be in one piece and in an
unbreakable container (pill bottles work well). Do not use tape or glue to secure insect
EARLY SPRING IDEAL TIME TO MOVE THIN-BARKED TREES - Do not
fertilize, but work in peat moss, leafmold, and compost around root ball. Fertilize next
spring. Also good time to plant evergreen seedlings. Check newspaper want ads for sales.
VEGETABLE PLANTING - Late March time to plant peas, onions,
radishes, and potatoes. If root maggot has been a problem in radishes, treat soil with an
insecticide (follow directions on label). Soil pH should be between 6.0 to 6.5 for best
results. Potatoes can stand a little lower pH if they are scab resistant.
SEEDS - Purchased seeds can be used a second year.
Germination will be lower, in addition to decreased vigor. The wisest thing to do is use
newly dated seed. Do not use seed taken from plants grown in your own garden. Why? Most
improved varieties are hybrids - a product of selective breeding that cannot be duplicated
by home gardeners. Remember, seeds are a small part of the total cost of maintaining a
home garden, so why take a chance?
TIME TO PRUNE - Peach trees--remove vigorous upright growing
sucker shoots in 3-6 year age bracket trees. Apple trees--prune and train central leader,
the strongest framework. Difficult to maintain healthy tree if top is too heavy. Proper
sanitation of pruning shears recommended for such diseases as fireblight (apple and pear),
black knot (plum and cherry), and vlasa canker (peaches). Pruning best when danger of
severe freeze is past and healing of pruning wounds will be rapid. Also time to prune
raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes.
FERTILIZING APPLE & PEACH TREES - Last week in March good
time. Do not fertilize 1st year of planting. For apples- 1 lb of 5-10-10 fertilizer per
year of age of tree up to 10 years. After that time no more than 10 lbs. Peaches--apply
1/2 lb fertilizer per age of tree up to age 10. After that no more than 5 lbs. per tree.
APPLE SCAB CONTROL (crabapple, quince, apple). Do you have
trouble every year with your leaves turning brown and falling off? Your problem could be
apple scab. For control apply a fungicide from budbreak until 2 weeks after petal fall at
April Gardening Notes
VEGETABLES - April 1-15 time to plant Asparagus,
Strawberries, Lettuce, & Cabbage. Late April (w/frost protection) tomatoes, lettuce
plants, radishes, early cabbage, early carrots, swiss chard, early beets, summer squash,
snap beans, sweet corn. Practice crop rotation-do not over-crowd. Asparagus--buy 1 yr. old
plants from nearest seed company. Plant 18 in. apart in row.
CABBAGE ROOT MAGGOT - If this has been a problem in your
radishes, turnips, and/or cabbage in previous years, use an insecticide for control.
Follow directions on label. Best to treat soil before planting, till into soil, and
then follow-up treatment.
STRAWBERRIES - Can be planted from April 1-15. Those planted
in April will produce flower clusters in a few weeks. Be sure to remove blossoms as soon
as they grow high enough out of the crown by pinching or cutting them off. Helps plants
grow strong and vigorous and more abundant future yields. Transplant strawberries only in
spring before new growth starts. Not recommended other times. Blossom spray prevents
strawberry rot--use a labeled fungicide when first flowers appear, and repeat 10 and 20
days later (follow directions on label).
TIME TO PLANT FRUIT & STILL TIME TO PLANT DORMANT TREES -
Plant at same depth as previous location. Don't jam roots into small hole. Dwarf fruit
trees best for home gardener; easier to spray, prune, thin, and harvest. Dormant trees
best planted in early April so root system gets established before too hot of weather.
FRUIT TREE SPRAY SCHEDULES - Important to start early. Time
for Black Rot control when growth begins. Spray with a labeled fungicide. See the web page
for fruit spray schedules.
PLANT EVERGREENS - Early to mid-April good time to plant
evergreens, gives them time to develop new roots before hot, dry weather. Make certain
water will not stand around roots after heavy rains (or from rain gutters). They do not
like wet feet. Too much fertilizer will harm roots; wait until next spring to fertilize.
Broad-leafed evergreens like a pH of 4.5 -5.5 Narrow-leafed evergreens like a pH of 5.5
LEAF BLIGHT/LEAF SPOT DISEASES - on ornamental trees and
shrubs. Can be avoided with labeled fungicides at budbreak and 10-20 days later. Also true
with laurel, rhododendrons, roses and peonies. Always follow directions on label.
BIRDS BOTHERING YOUR PLANTS? - Protect plantings with netting
or wire screening (1/2" mesh). Seedlings and small transplants often victims of
birds, but when plants are larger, birds less bothersome. Sometimes a few foil plates with
a piece of string through them and attached to a stick will blow and help keep birds away.
A radio placed in the yard may also help. Birds on lawn often after grubs. See August
Gardening Notes for grub control.
LAWN RENOVATIONS - Rake, fertilize, lime, weed control, and
reseed (allow 2-3 weeks before reseeding after weed control). Time for pre-emergence
crabgrass control on established lawns. Pre-emergence will also help control nutsedge and
some Poa annua (annual bluegrass). Clean up flowerbeds, cultivate, fertilize, and lime if
May Gardening Notes
VEGETABLE GARDEN - Early May still time to plant vegetables.
Mid - to Late May--Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Lima Beans, Cabbage (last
planting). For Control of FLEA BEETLE (disease carrier) in garden, spray
with labeled insecticide. Also control aphids (another disease carrier). Control SAP
BEETLES in Strawberries also with a labeled insecticide. Follow directions on
FRUIT TREES - Follow spray schedules closely. FRUIT
TREE BORER CONTROL - remove grass and weeds from base of tree for distance of 1
foot. Follow with a labelled insecticide control. GRAPES - Black Rot
Control - Spray with a labeled fungicide.
BIRCH & HOLLY LEAFMINER - Spray with a labeled
insecticide when first three new leaves are present and repeat spray again in about 10-15
days. Also mid-May time for first spray of insecticide for BORER CONTROL of lilac, birch,
rhododendron and dogwood. Spray trunks thoroughly and follow-up in mid-June.
PYRACANTHA (Firethorn) SCAB - Use labeled fungicides
at budbreak and 10 & 20 days later.
NEWLY PLANTED SHRUBS & TREES - MULCH of wood chips,
leafmold, or peat moss will help conserve moisture and discourage weeds. Do not water
every day, but water thoroughly once a week.
FLOWER GARDEN - Plant DAHLIA tubers 3 feet
apart, 6 inches deep, refill hole gradually as shoots grow. Put stakes in now. PLANT
ANNUALS. CHRYSANTHEMUMS - pinch back when 6-8 inches high. Repeat until
mid-July. COLUMBINE LEAF MINER - use labeled insecticide or pick off.
PRUNE rhododendrons, azaleas, Jap. andromeda, laurel when flowering buds start to open and
show some color - ideal and only time to prune. RHODODENDRON FLOWER BLIGHT -
Spray fungicide when flowers begin to color. Repeat at 5-day intervals until bloom. HYDRANGEA
GRAY MOLD and DOGWOOD FLOWER BLIGHT - Use fungicide once during
mid-flowering. LEAF SPOT (Ivy, Laurel, Gladiolus) - Spray labeled
CREEPY CRITTERS ARRIVE - spray only as they appear with labeled insecticide. APHIDS,
LEAFROLLERS, CANKERWORMS (inchworms), GYPSY MOTH
(as soon as you see them for best control), MEALY BUGS, SPITTLEBUGS,
TENT CATERPILLARS (early nest stage), WEBWORMS, WILLOW
LEAF BEETLE, TICKS (seldom found where regular mowing is done),
and BEES (when they settle down--dusk) with a labeled insecticide. To
control SLUGS, check garden stores for control bait. See the web page for
information on individual insects.
LAWN DISEASE - Time to start control with a good fungicide at
10-14 day intervals. Your garden store can help you. Controlling lawn diseases is
expensive, time consuming and for good control, you have to spray the whole summer into
MILLIPEDES - Control measures of little value during
migration period. Millipedes breed outdoors in decaying vegetable matter
which also serves as primary food supply. Before migrating, spray outside foundation to 20
ft. with suitable insecticide. For further information, send a stamped, self-addressed,
business-size envelope and request FS005
RAISE LAWN MOWER TO AT LEAST TWO INCHES BY END OF MONTH.
BEST NOT TO TRIM OFF MORE THAN 1/3 OF BLADE WHEN CUTTING.
June Gardening Notes
PRUNE SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS - Most pruning is done to shape
plant, or to control size, or on some shrubs you remove 3-year old wood. Be sure to prune
according to the requirements of your shrub.
VEGETABLE GARDEN - SQUASH BLOSSOM END ROT
(prevention) spray fungicide at weekly intervals (before mold begins). SQUASH VINE
BORER - control when vines begin to run - repeat 3 times at 7-day intervals. TOMATOES
- Mulch and water only once a week if dry spell, but water thoroughly (1-2"/wk). TOMATO
HORN WORM or FRUIT WORM - use insecticide or pick off. WHITE
FLIES (difficult to control) - Inspect underleaf surfaces. A spray of 1 tsp.
liquid detergent in 1 gallon water will suppress white flies. Consult garden store for
insecticide products. Use labeled insecticides for control of Aphids, Onion
Thrips, Onion Maggot, some Spider Mites, Flea
Beetles, Asparagus Beetle, Leafhoppers, Sweet
Corn Borer (control starts June 5 & at 4-day intervals--4 times); Cucumber
Beetle, Colorado Potato Beetle (also difficult to control; best
to pick off).
FRUIT TREES - Don't miss any of the spray schedules. GRAPES
- Black Rot - continue spraying with suitable fungicide.
MID-JUNE CONTROLS - Use labeled insecticides and make note of
timing of sprays. BORERS (also mid-May), TERRAPIN SCALE (also
Lecanium or Calico Scale), two times at 7-day intervals. BAGWORMS...repeat
after 10-14 days. JUNIPER SCALE repeat 5 days later. OAK OBSCURE
SCALE...repeat 3 times at 7 day-intervals. OAK SKELETONIZER
(make note to do again in August). OYSTER SHELL SCALE. PINE TIPWORM...repeat
again July 1 & 10. MIMOSA WEBWORM (make note to repeat 2 more times
about 1 month apart for second & third generations). WOOLY APHIDS
(see September Gardening Notes).
OTHER ORNAMENTALS - LACEBUGS (azaleas,
rhododendron, hawthorn, London plane). RHODODENDRON SCALE - June 1, again
July 1 & September 1. TAXUS WEEVIL (Black Vine Weevil) - serious pest
of rhododendrons, azaleas, hemlocks, yews, & other ornamentals--makes 'U' shape cut on
leaves...mid-June, spray foliage & soil at 3-week intervals. EUONYMUS SCALE
- mid-June and again in August. COTTONY MAPLE SCALE - (maples, dogwood, linden) - spray
when found. JAPANESE BEETLES - spray at weekly intervals.
FLOWERS - IRIS - Divide clumps every 3-4
years. Trim off leaves to 1/3 their height. Plant in full sunlight. Do not plant too deep
(top of rhizomes should be slightly above ground except in light soils slightly below). ROSES--continue
spray program to control insects & disease at 10-day intervals. CHRYSANTHEMUMS
- Continue to pinch back. CHRYSANTHEMUM LEAF SPOT spray at 10-12 day
intervals. LILACS - Remove all dead flowers. Control LILAC OYSTER
SHELL SCALE CRAWLERS with an insecticide. ZINNIA - Control
Mildew with a fungicide at 10-14 day intervals.
LAWN - Raise mower to 2-2 1/2 inches. (close cutting has
ruined many lawns - promotes weed growth). Follow disease control program if desired. Time
for Chinch Bug and Sod Webworm control.
POISON IVY - Should be sprayed in June, July & August
when in full leaf. Spot treat any plants that escape first treatment. Complete coverage
important. Use a wetting agent. Apply treatment with a paint brush to avoid drift and
damage to nearby desirable plants.
July Gardening Notes
TOMATOES - Tomato Wilt (disease) no control
except use only resistant varieties. Do not plant in same spot next year. A pH of 6.3 to
6.6 should be maintained.
OTHER VEGETABLES - SWEET CORN - Worm
control. Blackbirds in sweet corn - cover ears with cone-shaped paper cups after silks
have turned brown. SQUASH MOSAIC - no control. SQUASH VINE BORER
- when vines begin to run, treat base of plant where damage occurs at 7 day intervals
(bees killed - watch blossoms - dusk or early morning good time). CUCUMBER &
CANTALOUPE WILT - prevent wilt by killing the cucumber beetle (carrier of virus)
and by using wilt- resistant varieties. WET WEATHER - nurtures vegetable diseases which
affect cantaloupes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes - check garden store for good
fungicide. RASPBERRIES - canes that produced July crop should be cut down
to ground level.
HOW TO WATER LAWN & GARDEN - Do not overwater. If no
rain, water thoroughly once a week, or in light soils two times a week. Most plants
require from 1-2 inches of water per week. The important thing is a thorough watering when
you do water. Watering daily encourages disease, is not as effective as a thorough
watering, and produces shallow roots sensitive to drought.
INSECT INVASIONS: Use suitable insecticide and only spray
when insects are found above threshold levels (waste of spray, money otherwise not
environmentally responsible); Elm Leaf Beetle (Late July); Fall
Webworm (or prune off webbed branches and stamp or burn webworms--may need
burning permit); Japanese Beetles - weekly intervals; Leaf
Hoppers; Mimosa Webworm (3 generations a year);
Orange-striped Oakworm--do again in August; Sycamore
Tussock Moth (early to mid-July).
Hornets/Bees (after dusk when in nest); Lacebugs;
Aphids; Holly Scale Crawlers; Pine Tip Worms
(first spray was due in mid-June; second spray July 1; third spray Sept. 1); Spruce
Bud Scale Crawlers; and Spider mites.
GRAPES - Spray at weekly intervals with a labeled fungicide
for control of black rot until they begin to ripen.
ROSE BUSHES - Roses are very heavy feeders and require 3-4
fertilizer applications before early April and late July. On an average, apply 2 heaping
tablespoons to each plant, water in well to avoid burning roots. A mulch can be applied to
conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. A regular fungicide program needed to control Black
CHRYSANTHEMUMS - No more pinching back after July 20 for
early bloomers; and July 25 for late bloomers.
LEAF SCORCH - Caused by excessive growth during long, cool,
wet spell. As soon as hot, dry spell occurs, the tender growth scorches, which grew so
excessively earlier. It's like a sunburn on humans. No fungicide or insecticide will
remedy leaf scorch conditions. When fertilizing, don't use a high nitrogen fertilizer
which will soften leaves. Use a 5-10-10 fertilizer to help harden leaves.
August Gardening Notes
JAPANESE BEETLE CONTROL - Grub control measures must be
applied during mid- to late-July and August. The grubs are small and less resistant to
insecticides this time of year. Other times of year have not been satisfactory for grub
VEGETABLE GARDEN - ASPARAGUS (for control of
disease) use a fungicide - Aug. 20 and 10 days later. CABBAGE LOOPERS -
(cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and crucifer family) - spray on weekly basis. GRAPES
- for control of wasps and yellow jackets - spray with labeled insecticide. SWEET
CORN - Worm control (spray at intervals of 2 days after corn is in silk). COLORADO
POTATO BEETLE (a toughy) - No really good control. LIMA & SNAP BEAN
RUST - use a fungicide on a weekly basis.
FLOWER GARDEN - Remove old blooms to extend blooming season.
Hanging baskets may need fertilizer, use diluted soluble fertilizer. PEONIES
- Plant between August & early October in a sunny, well-drained location. Plant buds
or eyes one inch below surface.
ORNAMENTALS - Problem insects: HORNETS
(lilacs, dogwood, rhododendron) - the hornets remove strips of bark to build nest - spray
trunk & branches. AUGUST LOCUST BORER - Spray trunk of trees
mid-August. EUONYMUS SCALE - (second generation) - spray during crawler
stage. BAGWORMS - too late to spray now - hand picking best (see June
Notes). BARK BEETLES - black, small beetle, feed on cambium layer,
eventually kills tree. LEAF BEETLES (willow) - Spray in early August. OAK
SKELETONIZER (second generation) - spray mid-August. SCALES
(magnolia, rhododendron, tulip tree, pachysandra) - if only a few scales, brush with soapy
water. If needed, spray in late August. BOXELDER BUGS - Control in tree
before they migrate all over your house. Best to control the red nymph stage while still
in boxelder trees. Spray to control (nymph stage) or remove female boxelder trees.
See the web page for information on individual insects.
DON'T FERTILIZE OR PRUNE TREES & SHRUBS NOW - Pruning and
fertilizing stimulates new growth and new growth will not be able to acclimate the first
frost and subsequent cold weather-resulting in winter injury. There's enough natural
winter injury without us intentionally causing it.
GYPSY MOTH EGG MASSES - Can be destroyed from August to late
April by scraping them off with penknife, collecting all of them in a container and
destroying by burning, if possible. Another way is to cover egg masses with a generous
amount of creosote (1 part creosote to 2 parts fuel oil). Application can be made with
paint brush. However, if gypsy moth is heavy problem in your area, you'd be better off
waiting until May & spraying when worms are small which would be more effective. See
the web page for information on individual insects.
REVITALIZE YOUR LAWN - August and September are the best
months to get your lawn in shape & to seed new lawn. If you use weed killer, allow 2-3
weeks before seeding (beware of using weed killer in extremely hot weather unless you are
completely reseeding the whole lawn). Lime - pH should be between 6.0-7.0. Also good time
to dethatch, fertilizer.
September Gardening Notes
LAWNS - Still time to renovate lawn and seed (up to September
20). O.K. to lime and fertilize at same time you plant seed, put lime and fertilizer on
separately, and work into soil, not just spread on top of new lawns. Then seed, remove
thatch, rake leaves, and make compost (see October Notes). CHINCH BUGS -
at their peak around Labor Day. If not controlled, can ruin lawn. SOD - Preparation of
soil is very important step. Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope for
our sod leaflet, "Steps To An Instant Lawn - FS104. Mail to: Rutgers Cooperative
Extension - Agric, P.O. Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060.
WOOLY APHID CONTROL - (hemlock and many other trees). Best
control is late September. Second best control time is late June.
FLOWER GARDEN - IRIS--destroy infected
leaves to control borer. PEONIES--destroy tops as they die to prevent
disease carry-over. CHRYSANTHEMUM & DAHLIA FLOWER BLIGHT--when buds
start to open, spray with a labeled fungicide. GLADIOLA WORMS--Dust with
fungicide and keep in a cool place (40 degrees). TIME TO PLANT--Perennials,
Spring Flowering Bulbs (throw out bruised bulbs), Peonies. Still time to plant evergreens.
ORNAMENTALS - RHODODENDRON SCALE (third
generation) - September 1. SPRUCE GALL APHIDS - Early Fall.
CRICKET CONTROL - Spray eight to ten feet from base of
foundation with an insecticide. Be sure to spray around cellar doors, sidewalks, under
objects such as boards. May need follow-up treatment.
SQUASH BLACKROT - Spray proper fungicide and repeat end of
PEACH TREE BORER - (also affects flowering cherry and shrubs
of the genus Prunus). If borers are present, you'll find gummy masses on tree trunks with
wood sawdust mixed in. Borers feed on inner bark of trees just below soil surface to 10
inches above soil line. Remove weeds or grass from around base of tree for distance of one
foot. Apply an appropriate insecticide.
PINE & MEADOW MICE CONTROL - September or October - Mice
will girdle apple trees and cause severe damage if not controlled. End of September or in
October remove all debris from around base of trees within three feet (also other fruit
trees). Use grain or treated baits after first frost - or - later in year (when snow
covers ground and food is scarce) mice and rabbits often nibble the bark of young fruit
trees. One way to save trees is to wrap with aluminum foil. Keep mulches about one foot
away from trunk of other trees & shrubs mice may feed on. Mulch, however, should cover
TIME TO PLANT EVERGREENS - Late September to early October.
Roots exposed to air will dry out and die. Keep soil in place around roots when planting
(or transplanting).. Dig hole 12 inches wider and 3 inches deeper than is necessary to
accommodate the ball. Do not plant too deep (same depth they stood in nursery). Burlap may
be left around ball, but it should be loosened at the top. Mix humus with topsoil if
topsoil poor grade. Leave slight basin for water during first growing season. Fill basin
with soil before winter. Several inches of mulch should cover root zone, but don't put on
until ground freezes. Keep soil moist, but don't waterlog as roots need oxygen. Do not
fertilize the first growing season.
October Gardening Notes
START COMPOST PILE -. TIME FOR FALL CLEANUP - Did you destroy
old peony tops? Iris leaves? Stalks which carry borers? Weeds? The more you clean up now
the easier in the spring & less carry over of insects/diseases. Send a stamped,
self-addressed, business-size envelope for our composting leaflets. Mail to: Rutgers
Cooperative Extension - Agric, P.O. Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060
AUTUMN FOLIAGE DISPLAY - RED: Red & Sugar Maples, Sumac,
Pin Oak, Sweet Gum. YELLOW: Birch, Elm, Sycamore, Locust.
STILL TIME TO PLANT EVERGREENS/DECIDUOUS TREES/SHRUBS -
Deciduous trees & shrubs should not be planted until the leaves drop (when dormant). A
good rule of thumb...if the plant's leaves color and drop, it can be planted in the Fall.
Thin-barked trees (Japanese Maple, Dogwood, Magnolias) should not be planted until spring
to lessen chances of winter injury. Deciduous & evergreen trees/shrubs can be planted
anytime if container grown. However, extreme heat or frozen ground isn't too ideal.
FLOWER GARDEN - PEONIES...can still be
planted until Nov. 1. Sunny location, heavy soil best, and good drainage. Prepare soil
full-spade depth since peonies will remain in the same place many years. Work in bonemeal
& pulverized limestone. REMOVE DAHLIAS, GLADS, TUBEROUS BEGONIAS...allow
to die back naturally. Clean off tubers & store where temperature is 40-50 degrees (in
a basket or box with peat moss, newspapers, or dry soil in bottom). Glads...corms can be
cured in paper bag with 1 oz. naphthalene flakes. After 3 weeks, air corms before storing.
Thrips can be controlled by submerging corms in hot water (112-120 degrees) for 30 min.
Storing temperature of 40 degrees will also help prevent their activity.
VEGETABLE GARDEN - Good time to lime and to turn under plant
residue, especially if you plan to have early spring plantings. Fall use of manure gives
best results...leave on surface over winter and plow or spade in, in the spring.
Preparation of soil (tilling) now improves soil structure in spring by breaking up large
soil particles. Annual rye grass is a good cover crop.
LAWN - IDEAL TIME TO LIME - Established lawns generally need
about 25 lbs. of pulverized limestone per 1000 sq. ft. per year, or 50-75 lbs. every 2-3
years. Soil test best way to check your pH. Check the web page for information on how to
obtain a test. Heavy fertilizer usage would require additional lime application. FALL LAWN
WEED CONTROL - Excellent time to control broadleaf weeds such as dandelion or chickweed.
Fall is an excellent time to control these weeds because grass actively growing and at its
peak of health. Also, ornamental shrubs and trees are hardened off and more tolerant to
EVERGREENS LOSING NEEDLES? - Normal this time of year. If
inside needles turn yellow and drop, O.K. However, yellow outside needles may mean insects
at work, drainage problems or fertilizer burn.
HARVEST & CURE GOURDS - Remember they are ripe when
rock-hard. Sever from vine with sharp knife. Wash fruits in warm, soapy water, then rinse
and dry. Add a household disinfectant to clean rinse water to reduce decay organisms. When
completely dry (several days on newspaper), shellac or lacquer and allow to dry (or
acrylic resin spray or wax).
STRIPED SMUT-LAWN - If you had this problem last spring, this
is the time for control (did grass appear greasy and oil soaked last spring?). Apply
fungicide (check garden supply store).
November Gardening Notes
FIREPLACE TIPS - Smoke shelf - Should be free of soot and no
bird nests, leaves or debris in chimney. Scrape off buildup (if evident) and stop burning
soot-producing materials. Worst offenders are: milk cartons, plastic covered materials,
quick starter resins, leaves, plywood, gift wrappings, and green wood. Seasoned wood best:
piled and air-dried - lighter to handle, provides more heat and less ash. A standard CORD
= 4 ft. pieces piled 4 ft. high & 8 ft long. Care should be given to storage of
firewood indoors. Insects sometimes become a problem that are in the wood.
FIREPLACE WOOD - HEATING VALUES - figure in parentheses is
Btu's per cord (millions) BEST - apple (26), white oak (26), black beech, dogwood,
hickories (27), black locust (26). GOOD - white ash (23), beech (25), red oak (24), yellow
birch (22), sugar maple (24), black walnut (24). FAIR - white birch, black cherry (20),
elm, sycamore, gum (19), soft maple, red pine (17). POOR - aspen (15), basswood (14),
willow (15), white pine (14), spruce (16).
ASHES OF VALUE - Ashes from your fireplace wood do have a
certain value, but it is limited. They contain about 45 percent lime, 5-10 percent potash
(potassium) and 2 percent phosphorus. If you intend to use them, you'll have to collect
and store them in a dry place. If you pile them outside, they'll lose most of their
nutrient value. They can be used for annual and perennial flower gardens. Because of their
high calcium (lime content) they are not recommended for azaleas,
rhododendrons, and other acid loving plants.
FERTILIZE TREES & SHRUBS (those that dropped their
leaves) - Use 5-10-10 fertilizer application rate depending on size of tree or plant (not
an absolute necessity if fertilizer is scarce - Spring would be better). Use 1/2 lb. of
actual nitrogen per 1 inch of trunk growth. Do not fertilize newly planted trees and
NEWLY PLANTED TREES & SHRUBS - Need support. Before you
tie them on stake, protect tree bark from guy wires with segments of old rubber hose.
Prevent serious winter injury of semi-hardy shrubs by pulling away mulch to harden them
off. Replace 3 inches of mulch after ground freezes.
PROTECT FRUIT TREES FROM MICE & RABBITS - Apple &
pear trees head list of favorites, especially in young trees where bark is tender. The
bark of stone fruits is second choice in severe snow and cold. One way to save the trees
is to wrap the trunk with aluminum foil. Remove several inches of soil from base of tree
and start wrapping with the foil below the soil line. Good results can also be obtained
from using 1/4 inch mesh wire fence. Keep mulch about 1 foot away from trunk, but see that
it covers area roots. PRUNE FRUIT TREE--anytime from November through March (dormant
PAINT FRUIT TREE TRUNKS - There is less chance of trunk
injury from cold if they are painted white on the southwest side from ground level to the
crotch of the tree. This is common practice in many orchards and is recommended. Use white
latex paint mixed with equal parts of water for painting. Apply to trees of the ages 2-6
years. Older trees have heavy cork development which will provide insulation against the
heat of the sun.
CLEAN GUTTERS - Before they freeze solid, clean gutters, but
wait until all leaves are off trees.
MOW LAWN AGAIN - if needed. Don't leave 3-4 inches of grass
over winter. Also gets rid of weeds & weed seed drop.
CLEAN UP TOOLS - as you take them in and it will be done for
the winter and ready for a nice, fresh start next Spring.
December Gardening Notes
MULCH STRAWBERRY PLANTS - as soon as the temperatures have
fallen to 20 degrees F. Do not mulch too early as plants may be injured by warm days after
mulch is applied. If mulched too late, winter injury may have already occurred. Use loose
organic matter such as 2-3" of straw or shavings. If sawdust, only 1 inch.
WINTER MITES (Clover Mites) - Sunny days is a signal for
clover mites to invade during winter months. They do not harm but are a nuisance.
Insecticides can be applied to base of house in band 10-15 feet with a sprinkling can. For
those that enter home, sweep up with vacuum cleaner. Wiping them off window sills and
walls leaves a reddish smudge.
USING SALT ON SIDEWALKS/ROADS - Salt kills plants. Use
sawdust, or kitty litter on your sidewalks, or other slippery areas to avoid falls.
CHRISTMAS TREE SELECTION - (1) Select fresh tree with good
green color. (2) Needles should be smooth, limber to touch, and not dried out and dull in
color. (3) Branches should be strong and pliable, not coarse and brittle. (4) Weight is
another indicator of freshness. Very light trees have lost much of their moisture. (5)
Spray with an anti-wilt material to reduce water loss (aerosol can - garden center or
florist). (6) Make a fresh cut at base of trunk and place in holder where water can be
added. Refill container each day. To prolong life of tree, use following solution when you
refill the liquid holder: To 1 gallon of hot water add: 1/2 cup chelate (organic compound
containing iron: marketed under various trade names) + 2 cups light corn syrup and 4 tsp.
chlorine bleach. (7) Fire-Retardant Coating - Produces shiny, transparent, colorless
coating. Sodium silicate available at drug store. Sodium silicate (water glass) - use 9
parts to 1 part water containing a wetting agent (detergent-1 tsp/qt). Heavy coating
necessary to reduce the fire hazard. Two coats more effective. Spray or dip. (Spraying-add
Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for a list of
"Cut Your Own Christmas Trees". Mail to Rutgers Cooperative
Extension - Agric, P.O. Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060
LIVE TREES - Not recommended but if you do, keep indoors for
as short as possible, in a cool room. Protect foliage with anti-wilt spray. It would be
helpful to already have site selected for planting and hole dug before the holidays; place
fill dirt in area where it will not freeze; if necessary, keep hole open by filling with
mulch material. If temperatures are 20 degrees F. or above, the tree can be planted
immediately after removal from the home. However, conditioning may again be advantageous -
move the tree to a sheltered, unheated area such as a garage, carport, etc. for several
days (keeping it watered) before planting. Plant carefully and well, and tend as any other
transplanted yard or landscape plant. If you did not get hole dug before freezing weather,
put tree in garage, keep soil moistened. (do not over-water) Plant tree the last week in
PROTECT SHRUBS - not winter hardy - burlap 3 sided - 3 ft.
high - west, northwest & north sides. FIG TREES - can be packed loosely with leaves.
PROTECT YOUNG TREES from frost cracks, especially thin-barked birches, beeches. Use
commercial tree wrap.