Follow pruning basics for late summer

By Lelia Kelly and David Nagel

Extension Horticulture Specialists

Distributed by Lisa Stewart, Webster County Director

 

There always seems to be some questions about pruning this time of year. Yep, you can prune in late summer. The type of pruning you do is the key. Some examples follow.

It is just fine to remove any damaged, diseased or wayward branch (those that poke us in the eye as we walk up the sidewalk) any time of year.

Continue to remove any suckers that appear around the base of your tree-form crapemyrtles as well as any suckers that appear below the graft of roses or fruit trees. Rub off any tender shoots that appear along the trunks or main branches of large tree-form crapemyrtles and fruit trees.

Watering Newly Transplanted Trees, Shrubs

If you added some trees or shrubs to your landscape during the late winter or early spring, do not forget to water these plants during dry weather.  Root systems are still developing and growing into their new location and may not be extensive enough yet to withstand dry weather.

Water deeply; wetting the entire root ball at least once a week if there is no rain.  Mulching around the root area (do not pile mulch deeply around the trunk or stems) will help to retain moisture in the soil and deter weeds that compete for the available moisture.

Vegetables

The cool spell in August has allowed large-fruited tomatoes and peppers to set a new fruit load. When these new peppers and tomatoes grow to about an inch in diameter, apply a light fertilizer addition to the soil. These bonus vegetables should be ready to harvest  in October.

Now is the time to transplant all  of the cabbage family. Kale and collards are staples in gardens and will be ready to harvest by October. Cabbage and broccoli take a while longer. The most challenging member of the family is Brussels sprouts, with cauliflower a close second in failure rate.

Both of these crops require long periods of sunny days with temperatures below 80 degrees. We tend to get a week or two of 90s in September and even October on occasion. These above optimum temperatures cause the cauliflower heads to open before they are fully formed and the sprouts to remain small. The rewards are great if the weather cooperates.

It is time to make arrangements for strawberry plants to be delivered in September and October. Have the garden ready to plant the strawberries the day they arrive.

Lawns

Pre-emerge weed control should be applied by Labor Day to control winter annual weeds like annual bluegrass, little barley and dandelions. Lawn burweed (stickerweed) is a pest in spring when the grass first greens up and you want to run barefooted.

Applying the right herbicide now will keep the weed from ever growing. It is much easier to stop a seed from becoming a plant than it is to kill a plant.