What to do this month Divide overgrown perennials. Harvest summer vegetables, and start planting fall vegetables. Keep up weeding, harvesting, and deadheading. Fertilize dahlias and annuals, but not perennials, roses, trees, and shrubs. Order spring bulbs from catalogs now for October planting. Harvest winter squash after the first frost. Gladiolus and dahlia bulbs may overwinter in the ground in Southern New England, thanks to global warming, especially if you mulch. Plant trees and shrubs. Bring in houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors after inspecting them for insects. Remove aphids with a blast from the hose. Cut and bag plants affected by humidity-induced foliage diseases such as powdery mildew.
Q. A spot where a dog did its thing on my new lawn is yellow. What can I do to fix it? A nice neighbor suggested watering that particular spot a lot.
A. Your neighbor is right. There is an old saying: The solution to pollution is dilution.
Q. My trumpet vine is driving me crazy. I planted it 30 years ago, and now it knows no bounds. It comes up in the grass, the flower beds, and beyond! If I dig it out, will it keep coming up all over?
A. Probably. It can take some vines a decade to get established, but once they are, you are usually stuck with them. My advice to readers is: Don’t plant any kind of decorative perennial vine. Too many of them gradually become roving pests requiring constant weeding. Climbing roses and annual vegetable vines like peas are OK.
Q. The evening orchestra of warm summer nights has been quiet this year for the first time. Where are the crickets and katydids? Do we blame this on global warming?
A. My singing insects are great this year, so I suspect that someone sprayed insecticide and killed off yours. This has become such a big problem that it has been given a name: “The Insect Apocalypse.” (Remember when bugs used to go splat on your windshield when you drove at night? ) Since insecticides are toxic to humans and could drift into your yard, you may be able to ask your abutting neighbors to stand down next year. You could also let part of your lawn grow. I have several patches of 3-foot-tall meadow grass dotted with wildflowers that I mow around. This also produces fireflies, which breed in tall grass.
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