Chrysanthemums: Little water, sun to make them happy

Published 9:30pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

If you are like many southern homeowners you probably have St. Augustine sod somewhere in your yard. Late summer is the time for chinch bugs to make an appearance in your lawn.

Brown patches of dying grass show up in scattered areas; these patches will increase in size if left untreated. It’s better to treat the lawn early, as a preventive, rather than waiting until the problem is big. These sap sucking insects overwinter and emerge in the spring as adults and hatch eggs in about two weeks. It takes about a month for them to mature. They live about two months, producing up to seven generations per year. Because of the numerous generations, several applications of insecticide may be necessary. Insecticides come in liquid or granular form. I prefer the granular because it’s easy to apply with a spreader.

The Central Alabama Fair is just around the corner. One of the many attractions they have is the flower competition. Why not select a nice plant or plants that you have been babying and see if it can win you cash money? There are several categories to enter: best hanging fern, best flowering plant, most unusual, best foliage, etc.?

I’m sure there are more but I’m not certain of them all. Call any Lions Club member for more information.

Chrysanthemums will be showing up soon in all their fall colors. Red, yellow and orange are the colors that come to mind when we think of fall. Mums also come in white, lavender and pink, but these colors are less popular this time of year.

How to buy mums so that you get the full show of the blooms? Buy mums while they are still in tight bud (no blooms). The growers will put a tag in each plant so you will know what you are buying before they actually open.

And, chrysanthemums only bloom for a couple of weeks, so don’t wait until they are blooming to purchase them.

Mums need full sun for the flowers to open. Regular water keeps them happy.

Don’t throw mums out when they are finished blooming, cut the plant back halfway and plant it in the yard, it will come back next year.

Cilantro has gotten to be an herb that rivals basil and oregano in popularity. Cilantro is usually sold in the spring but it does not like the heat and it goes to seed quickly. The fall is the best time to plant cilantro. When planted in the fall it will grow all winter because it prefers the cooler temperatures.

The weeds that show up in late winter and early spring before the grass greens up should not be that much of a distant memory.

To keep these weeds under control, apply a pre-emergence weed killer from late late August through November. The secret is to kill the weed seeds before they get a chance to emerge.

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