University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
IRIS AND OTHER SEPTEMBER GARDENING TIPS
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Lifting and dividing iris and daylilies, rooting cuttings of
tender plants, and burying bean vines are some of the gardening tips for this
Root cuttings of coleus,
geranium, and herbs to bring indoors over the winter. Cut a three-inch section
of stem, remove the bottom half or two thirds of the leaves, and place in moist
soilless mix, vermiculite, or sand. (Some gardeners dip the cut ends in rooting
hormone; others find this unnecessary.) Place the entire container in a loosely
tied plastic bag to maintain humidity.
When the daytime temperatures no
longer rise above 65 degrees F, it's time to pick the green tomatoes. Wrap them
individually in newspaper and let them ripen indoors.
Lift bearded iris clumps with a
shovel and break them apart. Save the plumpest, firmest rhizomes, and discard
the old, leafless ones. Trim the leaves to about six inches long. Let the
rhizomes air dry overnight before planting. Daylily clumps are so dense you'll
need to slice through them with a shovel or spade. Separate them into smaller
clumps, leaving at least three plants per clump. Trim leaves to about six
inches long and replant.
Legumes, such as beans and peas, have the ability to take
nitrogen from the air and use it for their own benefit. Rather than pulling up
the spent plants and adding them to the compost pile, why not keep that
nitrogen where it's needed by chopping up the vines and tilling or digging them
into the soil.
The sales are on. There's still
plenty of time to plant trees and shrubs, and the prices are right.
will continue into late fall or early winter, and plants won't have the
spring or summer to dry them out. Be sure to water well at planting
every week until they go dormant. If you don't have a spot ready for
additions, submerge roots in the vegetable garden until next spring--
pot and all. Just make sure when choosing plants to select
healthy specimens, ones without broken stems, diseased leaves, or
If you have any existing small trees
or shrubs you'd like to relocate next spring, prepare them now with a process
calling “root pruning”. With a sharp spade, slice down into the soil around the
rootball. This will cut through the roots and encourage the growth of new
roots, which will ease transplant shock later on. Only select plants about your height, as
large plants will be difficult to dig sufficient roots to move
successfully. Larger trees and shrubs
may need the equipment and skill of a professional landscaper to move.
When the first frost blackens the
foliage of dahlias (or if a hard freeze is predicted), cut off the stems about six
inches above the tubers. Carefully dig the clumps with a spade or fork, and
rinse them off. Let them dry out of direct sun and wind for a day (not too long
or they'll begin to shrivel). Store the tuber clumps whole, or carefully
separate the tubers from the stem, making sure to include any "eyes"
(small, raised nubs near where the tubers attach to the main stem) with each
tuber. These are the future sprouts. Store tubers in ventilated plastic bags
filled with peat moss,
vermiculite, or sawdust.
Place bags in a box and keep them in a dark, 35- to 50-degree F location.
If you haven't yet done so, cover
your late crops of lettuce and spinach with polyester row covers to keep them
warmer as the night temperatures dip close to freezing. The covers also will
keep the leaves from getting damaged by heavy rains.
Hard as it is to do, refrain from
cutting any more roses and let the fruits (rose hips) form. This will signal to
the plant that it's time to harden off for winter. Don't spread winter mulch
around roses until after the ground freezes.
You can keep geraniums in pots growing
and blooming indoors by cutting them back by about a third and then starting to
fertilize them a couple of weeks later. Keep plants in a sunny window. Or to
keep them dormant for the winter, move the potted plants into a dark, cool (40
to 50 degrees) location. Don't water them and don't cut them back until they
show new growth in spring. Many other
annual flowers can be potted before frost, and kept blooming indoors well into
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