Gardening with Laurie: Fertilize you lawn now for stronger, healthier plants in spring

By Laurie Garretson
Sept. 19, 2013 at 4:19 a.m.

Now would be a good time to fertilize your lawn, especially if it hasn't been fed in several months. It has been a long, hot, dry summer. Except for the recent showers, we have not had much other rain to speak of.

The stress from our drought conditions and the heat have really taken a toll on all types of vegetation, including lawns. In this weakened condition, all of the landscape could use a boost from some nutrients.

An organic fall fertilizing is actually the most important feeding of the year. When feeding the lawn and all other vegetation during the fall, you will be encouraging stronger root systems. A stronger root system will mean stronger, healthier plants and lawn come next spring.

With the recent rains, many folks are noticing toadstools in their lawns. Toadstools usually refer to toxic fungi that can be found in lawns. Mushroom usually refers to the edible varieties. Do not be alarmed by their presence in your lawn. If you want to remove a toadstool grab the bottom part and try to keep it intact as you place it in a bag to be disposed of.

Keeping the toadstool intact will help to prevent all the toadstool spores from dropping to the ground. I once had someone tell me that her kids used golf clubs to distribute several toadstools all over their lawn. With the next rain, they had toadstools come up all over their lawn. Golf clubs were not allowed ever again.

This is a common time of the year to find aphids on lots of plants, especially citrus and pecan trees. A good sign that your trees have aphids is when you find a sticky substance on the leaves or on anything that might be beneath the infected tree.

Aphids secrete a sticky, honeydew substance. You'll often notice a black, sooty mold on the sticky leaves. A strong blast of water from the garden hose usually helps to get rid of most of the pests. If that doesn't do the trick, a few applications of Safer Soap should take care of the aphids.

Snails and worms are also causing numerous problems. These pests will eat on many types of vegetation. In one night, these pests can do much damage. Remember, synthetic snail baits can be very harmful to pets and humans. There are natural products that will rid your landscape of all snails, slugs and all types of worms and will not harm you or your pets.

Roses should be at their peak by next month if they are healthy and well-watered. If there are additional varieties of roses that you have been wanting to add to your landscape, fall is the best time to add them.

Fall planting will allow the root system to become well established during the cooler seasons. When next summer comes around, you will have a well-established plant better able to handle our intense summers.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, 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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