Gardening with Laurie: It's almost fall

By Laurie Garretson
Sept. 5, 2013 at 4:05 a.m.

September is here, and that means we're on the down side of summer. In a matter of weeks, we'll begin to feel the first signs of cooler weather. We've all been through another long, dry, hot summer, but relief is in sight.

Now is the time to get your plants ready for fall. All the landscape is stressed from the harsh summer condition. Start feeding fall bloomers to encourage fall blooms. Cut back any dead stems or spent flowers.

Check all rose bushes for black spots on the foliage. Black spots are a common fungal disease on roses. Spray the foliage with a fungicide to help get rid of it. While you're checking for black spots, also check for insects.

Aphids and spider mites are many times a problem pest on roses. Make sure all your roses are getting adequate water, be sure to keep them fed and sprinkle 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Epson salt under each bush.

Pests, diseases, lack of adequate water and just general stress from high temperatures and drought can hinder a rose from blooming and weaken the plant. Sickly, weak roses will not be able to build up sufficient amounts of carbohydrates that are needed for blooming. If you've been thinking of adding a new rose to your gardens, fall will be the best time to do it.

If you have a bougainvillea that's not looking its best and hasn't bloomed in a while, it may be in need of care. Bougainvilleas will bloom best when during fall and spring.

All varieties require at least five to six hours of direct sunlight. They are heavy feeders and are drought tolerant once established. Blooming occurs on the new growth, so pruning is important. Give your plant a trim and fertilize it to encourage fall blooms.

Many trees all over the state are showing signs of stress from the prolonged drought conditions. This is a good time to evaluate any trees in your yard. Trees are very important to a landscape for many reasons.

They not only add to the overall appearance and value of the property but also provide much-needed shade for our homes and yards. Feeding and watering are important for their health. Just as with perennial plants, trees can also benefit from a trim every now and then and keep dead limbs cut out.

Fall is the best time to add new trees to your landscape. If you are thinking of adding a tree to your landscape, now's the time to start looking around and asking questions to find the right tree for your needs.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature and not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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