As the summer growing season comes to an end and temperatures decline, many yard, garden and landscape tasks are a little bit more tolerable. Be aware that there are warm season weeds setting seed to surprise you with seedlings next spring. Cool season weed seeds will germinate over the next several months and existing cool season weeds are beginning growth. A little time set aside to reduce their numbers and other lawn and landscape tasks will pay dividends next spring.
Keep fallen leaves and tree debris raked up on grassy areas. Lately, for many, it has been a weekly task because leaf shed on many trees and shrubs has come early and been ongoing for several months. This leaf shedding has been caused by frequent periods of limited rainfall and hot temperatures over that time. When under severe stress, woody plants will often unload some leaves early.
Survey your lawn for problems spots and weeds. This past growing season had a very negative effect on many local lawns and that will translate into more areas of turf in poor condition going into fall. Expect more areas of damaged turf and invasion of weeds than usual. Small patches of weeds can be hand pulled while small, but if you plan to use herbicides be certain you know what weed you have and what your turf grass is before using any herbicide.
Our office can help with weed identification on many weeds and for those unusual or rare weeds we can send them to the Clemson Plant Problem Clinic for identification and treatment options. Samples sent for ID to CPPC cost $10. Samples brought in for ID should be in good condition. Use a small trowel to dig up plants with some soil attached and place in a small plastic cup or zip bag. Choose sample weeds in good condition and choose those with flowers and seed heads if available. Good times to bring them in to the office at the old Brewer School Complex are 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. You can always call our office at 864-223-3264 for information before you come.
If your turf is on the decline or needs a lift, bring in a soil sample too. Cost is $6, but it will provide proper information on what fertilizer and/or lime you may need to apply. If you are unsure of what turf you have, dig up a 3 by 3 square with your trowel for ID. Proper grass ID is needed for proper herbicides for weed control or appropriate fertilizer recommendation for different turf grasses. Also, soil sample now for vegetable gardens, fruit and nut trees, pastures and other plant production areas.
How to take a proper sample
You can use our Clemson HGIC Bulletin 1652, Soil Testing for complete instructions on taking and using at sample at: clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/pdf/hgic1652.pdf , or stop by the office for bags and instructions.
Here is a quick summary for taking a soil sample. You need a clean pail, a trowel or small shovel and a plastic bag, or one of our soil sample bags. Rather than a shovel of soil taken in one spot, you want a composite sample across your area. Take eight-10 small cores or scoops of soil across the entire area. Mix these in a clean bucket and put approximately a pint of mixed soil into a labeled soil bag or into a Ziploc bag and bring to the extension office.
You can stop by our office on East Cambridge Avenue or call 864-223-3264 for soil bags or bring about a pint of soil in a plastic bag.
The Abbeville Extension Office 2016 Berry, Fruit, Nut, Shrub, and Tree Sale order forms are available at clemson.edu/extension/abbeville/index.html or at the Abbeville, Greenwood and McCormick extension offices.
James Hodges is a Clemson Extension agent in Greenwood County. He can be reached at 864-223-3264.