What do you like most about September?
The last couple of weeks of August are usually a bit slow for Autumn Leaf in the field as homeowners and families across long island are getting in that last vacation in for the end of summer. It’s a bitter sweet time of year as we take full advantage of the opportunity to join in the rest for a last minute or planned time off. Our crews always looks forward to it and so do I. I always feel as we are wasting good working weather since freezing temps are on their way soon and work in the field will be impossible. This past August as we always do, I converted my work truck in to the ultimate recreational truck! I ditched all the tools and loaded up all the toys! Three kayaks, three bikes, 1 paddle board, a small gas grill, fishing poles and all the gear to go with it. (Still had room to spare)
We headed to Provincetown Cape Cod to enjoy family time along the National Seashore. I obtained an ORV (Off Road Vehicle) permit for the week so we can drive through the dunes and on to the beach. It was fun to drive on the beach along the ocean watching and listening to the waves crash. It’s so big, 10 miles in fact that there are no crowds. We loaded the truck with plenty food and drink and just parked feet from the water to do some whale watching. It was relaxing and it got me ready for one of our busiest months of the year. September!
September is when the landscape needs some attention and the season is about to change. It’s the time when homeowners are ready to start a renovation that was put off during the summer. Nurseries start to receive stock and if you want to plant, now is a great time. What I like most about September is about the weather! The humidity on Long Island seems to disappear as dry air settles in and it is an absolute pleasure to work outside.
Your landscape will benefit in the fall, winter and into next spring for performing some basic chores. Here are 5 must do chores we do in September. Most can be done in one day for smaller yards and a bit longer if you plan on upgrading some old mature shrubs.
1. Rebuild and/or overseed lawns. Establish new lawns with seeding. Aerate your Lawn
No one wants an unsightly lawn with lots of weeds. (well some do) This is the time where we seed in the fall. Weeds will begin to die off as the cooler weather sets in while new grass seed will thrive. For established lawns aerating and seeding is the best option. For new lawn areas over seeding with a slit seeding machine will give you great results. Aeration is the process where small holes are punched in to the soil to allow air, water and nutrients to enter the root system. This also is a good idea if your soil is too compacted. Compacted soil will restrict root growth and make it susceptible to disease.
2. Split, divide and move perennials
Spring and summer flowering perennials have finished flowering and could be taking over your garden beds. Split or divide them if they are getting too big or covering some evergreens. Left to keep growing, they will be more difficult to deal with next spring. If you want to split daylily, hosta and even some ornamental grasses, now is the time. The air will be cooling off while the soil will stay warm for another 6-8 weeks. Doing it now will give the plant plenty of time to establish itself and be a healthy addition in another spot in the garden come spring.
3. Pruning shrubs and trees
Walk around the landscape and take notice of any dead or broken limbs, branches and foliage. Clip them off to promote healthy growth and for aesthetic value. Deciduous trees and shrubs will benefit from a light pruning as they have time to heal and get ready for the dormancy period come winter. Be careful not to prune hydrangeas that flower on old wood, azaleas, and rhododendrons unless you don’t want to see any flowers next spring. These should have been pruned immediately after flowering. Best to wait on those. Evergreen trees and shrubs can be pruned at this time if needed.
4. Inspect the irrigation system and change the watering times.
Be aware that the watering schedule that was in place through the dry and hot weather in the summer is not going to be the same moving in to September and October. Too much water in the fall will lead to root rot and as soon as the temp dips, so does the plant. Walk the landscape and identify your wet conditions. Drip zones must be turned down as the soil will take more time to dry out when it’s cooler. Be aware of the weather too. Many times I come across properties that are still watering after two days of rain over already wet soil conditions. It rains often in the fall and the soil can be saturated for days after a good soaking. Consider adding drip for your containers too. Today these systems are easy to upgrade.
5. Plant new trees and shrubs
Upgrading your landscape now means that your property will look its best come spring as the new plants are established and they are starting to develop first sign of spring. New growth on evergreens, buds on roses and perennials emerging from beneath the mulch are all what spring is about in your garden. Upgrade one bed or give your home some new curb appeal. You don’t have to go through the inconvenience of having equipment, crews and trucks of crossing your nice lawn in the spring which will take some time to heal if done later in the season.
September is a beautiful month to be outside! It’s no wonder why lots of weddings are held now and outdoor activities are still in full swing across the Island. If you like to be outside like me, this is the best time of year to enjoy. I like sitting in the yard watching nature. Turn on the waterfall, get that last swim day in and if the evening gets a little chilly, light the fire pit and enjoy a cozy conversation with family and friends.