September E-News from Viette's               Volume 10: No. 9

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                          September/2014

GreenGrass September is
Lawn Care Month!

Early fall is the best time of the year for sprucing up your lawn.
This issue of our newsletter concentrates on some important lawn care chores
and projects for the fall season.
seeding * over seeding
fertilizing * core aeration
dethatching * weed control
grub and insect control 
Quick Links
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All potted perennials in our garden center!

Through September
Plant of the Month
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' beginning to color up in August. Excellent for mass plantings
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' begins to color up in August. This tall sedum is excellent for mass plantings
A Four Season

A Super Perennial

The sedums as a group are among the top performing perennials in the garden. They are heat and drought tolerant, easy to grow, and spread "nicely" without becoming invasive. Their succulent foliage adds interesting texture to the perennial garden and many cultivars have foliage with brilliant fall color as an added bonus. The broad, flat flower heads of the taller varieties bloom from August through frost and not only provide beautiful fall color but also remain steadfast and attractive in the garden as a wonderful winter accent. Shadows from flower heads add interest when snow is on the ground.

dried flowerheads covered with hats of snow
Dried sedum flower heads covered with "hats" of snow in winter

Diversity in Form

There are two main types of sedum - the tall forms such as the ever-popular Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and the more prostrate forms such as Sedum 'John Creech' and Sedum spurium 'Splendens' which make excellent ground covers. The low-growing species are exceedingly well suited for rock gardens and rock walls. Their attractive foliage cascades gracefully over rocks and into nooks and crannies between stones. Flowers of the taller forms undergo an amazing metamorphosis of color through the summer and fall. The large broccoli-like flower heads begin as light green buds, change to pale pink as they begin to open, transform to a deeper and deeper rose color, and finally mature to a rich bronze in the fall. Talk about a changing landscape - with just one species!

Sedum John Creech
Sedum 'John Creech' is wonderful for the rock garden 

These plants are wonderful butterfly magnets! They attract many different species and provide nectar for them late in the season. 

Sedum flowers are a great
butterfly magnet

More color!

Color comes from more than just the flowers. Sedum foliage comes in a great variety of colors. Sedum 'John Creech' and Sedum kamschaticum are a beautiful bright green, while Sedum spurium 'Splendens', and Sedum spurium 'Bronze Carpet' have reddish foliage that becomes even richer red in the fall. The succulent jade green leaves of Sedum 'Autumn Joy' are beautiful in combination with the dusty pink flowers in late summer.

Sedum kamschaticum Variegatum
Sedum kamschaticum 'Variegatum'
Sedum Vera Jameson
Sedum 'Vera Jameson' has attractive grayish-purple foliage
Winning Combinations

Ornamental grasses make wonderful backdrops for sedums. The combination of different textures is very striking. Sedum also works well in combination with Rudbeckia (Brown-eyed Susan), Echinacea (Coneflower), Perovskia (Russian Sage), and Phlox paniculata (Summer Phlox).  Sempervivum spp. (Hens and Chicks) are a related group of plants which work very well in combination with the creeping sedums to add even more texture to the landscape. These interesting succulents can be tucked neatly into crevices in a rock wall or rock garden.

Sedum Vera Jamison and Pennisetum orientale
Sedum 'Vera Jameson' stands out against the beautiful ornamental grass, Pennisetum orientale.
Easy Culture
Sedum grows best in full sun or part shade and in well-drained soil. They do not like wet feet or poorly drained areas so be sure to add plenty of good organic material to the soil when you plant - especially if you have clay soil. Once established in the garden, these tough perennials are drought tolerant. They can be propagated by division in the spring or by cuttings in the late spring and summer.

Sedum - you can't beat them for performance and diversity in the garden!
Fall garden with Sedum
Vibrant blooms of Sedum 'Neon' light up this fall garden
If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it along to your gardening friends!


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Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden'

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Tip of the Month 
Fall Lawn Care!
A little time spent on your lawn this September will make next year's lawn the envy of the neighborhood!
Having a beautiful lawn takes a little fall maintenance. Your lawn is usually one of the most visible parts of your landscape. With proper care and maintenance, it can be a beautiful asset to your property. September marks the beginning of the best season for most lawn projects. Whether you are controlling broadleaf weeds, killing grubs, renovating the lawn, or just plain starting all over and planting a whole new lawn, this is the time to do it.
Why September?  
One of the main reasons that September is the best time to plant grass seed is that it gives the new grass two good growing seasons (fall & spring) to become established before the hot, dry summer season. Properly watered and fertilized, your new grass will develop strong, deep roots by the time summer rolls around and it will be able to better withstand the summer heat and drought.
In addition, the warm soil, cooler nights, increased likelihood of rain, and fewer insect and disease related problems combine to make perfect growing conditions for your new grass. Weed competition is generally lower in the fall, too. So there you have it - perfect timing!
Over seeding or partial renovation 
Often times a lawn will deteriorate over time but not to the point where you have to totally kill the existing lawn and start over from scratch. The rule of thumb is that if 70% of a lawn needs fixing, then you need a new lawn. If 30% or less is in trouble, it can be patched or restored.
  1. Get rid of the weeds! The first step to renovating a lawn is to control the weeds. If hand weeding is not an option, use one of the selective broadleaf herbicides such as Bonide Weed Beater, Weed Beater Plus, or Weed Beater Ultra, or Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer. Always read and follow the label directions! 
  2. Reduce the competition from the existing grass. Once the weeds are gone, begin the renovation by mowing the lawn as low as possible and rake up all the clippings and other debris.
  3. Dethatch if necessary. If the thatch layer is greater than 1/2 inch, it should be removed. Rent a dethatcher or a power rake to make the job easier.
  4. Aerate the soil. When the soil is compacted, grass doesn't grow well because nutrients, air, and water cannot penetrate the soil and get to the roots. Compacted soils should be loosened by core aeration. This should always be done when the grass is actively growing so the roots have time to recover. A core aerating machine can be rented for the job.
  5. Amend the soil. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested so you know what soil nutrients are needed and whether you need to add lime. Sometimes a starter fertilizer is recommended for new plantings. Organic fertilizers such as Espoma Organic Lawn Food release nutrients slowly and feed the lawn over a longer period of time. These fertilizers will not burn the grass or leach into the groundwater. Organic fertilizers only need to be applied two or three times a year; in the spring and fall, and sometimes a revitalizer in the summer.
  6. Choose high quality grass seed. Quality seed will germinate better and fill in more quickly. Be sure to choose a grass seed mixture that will tolerate the conditions in your yard - sun or shade.
  7. Seeding. Small areas can be seeded by hand but larger areas can be seeded using a drop spreader. Spread half the seed in one direction and spread the other half at right angles to the first. This will provide a more uniform coverage of the seed.
  8. Mulch. It is important to keep the seed bed moist until the grass is established. Mulching with a thin layer of straw will help maintain even moisture levels.
  9. Keep the seed bed watered. Water slowly and gently to avoid runoff and washing of the seed. Keep the seed bed constantly moist throughout the germination period.
    Click here for more tips on lawn renovation.

Weed Control in the Lawn - Fall is best! 
We have gotten a lot of questions lately about controlling various broadleaf weeds in the lawn. Well, September is a great time to let those broadleaf lawn weeds have it!
Dandelions are a common broadleaf lawn weed Why? In the fall, perennials (including perennial weeds) begin to prepare for winter by moving nutrients and stored starches from their leaves into their roots. Spraying systemic herbicides at this time means that these chemicals also get transported down to the roots more effectively - bye bye weeds! Since the grass is still actively growing, it will quickly fill in the bare spots. Both Bonide and Bayer Advanced make many systemic herbicides that selectively kill broadleaf weeds in the lawn. Always read and follow the label directions when using herbicides! 
Fall Lawn Feeding
Now through November is a good time to put down your fall application of a good organic fertilizer such as Espoma Fall Winterizer Organic Lawn Food. Espoma's winter formula supplies long lasting nitrogen, an essential nutrient that helps to promote a thicker lawn and vigorous growth. It is also fortified with potassium, a nutrient that helps the lawn recover from summer drought conditions, enhances winter hardiness, and helps promote a better spring greening the following season. 
Control White Grubs in the Lawn - NOW!
White grub
White grub
In late August and September, the grubs that damage your grass are small and close to the surface actively feeding on your grass roots. This is the best time to go after them!
Bayer Advanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus is very effective for killing the beetle grubs at this stage in their life cycle.
Always read and follow the label directions!
September Lectures at Viette's   
Join us at the farm for these informative lectures ...
Saturday, September 13 at 1:30 pm
The Garden in Fall 
Beautiful fall garden

If you think that just because it's September, the "flower show" is over, think again! You won't believe how many plants are still looking great and how much color there still is in the garden. Plan for fall color through foliage, flowers, and berries. Use ornamental grasses and hardy mums to give a real feeling of fall. Mark will introduce you to some other wonderful fall blooming perennials and add a little color to your life this fall!  Free lecture


Saturday, September 27 at 1:30 pm 

Techniques of Plant Propagation 

Dividing daylilies

A wonderful fall hands-on workshop! Plant propagation is an exciting, self-satisfying, and money saving activity! Learn how to landscape your property using your own plants. Mark will teach you the best methods for many different plants including techniques of dividing, taking cuttings, layering, and seeding. Take home loads of plant divisions! A propagating demonstration tour is included.
Please pre-register by calling 800-575-5538;
       $30 fee, two for $50  

From the Viette's Views Blog ...
Anthracnose of tomato    08-29-2014 16:55:01 PM

It's been a tough year for tomatoes. The weather, at least in our area of the Shenandoah Valley, has been cooler than normal and fairly dry. The rain we've had has mostly come as heavy downpours - "frog stranglers" as my old boss used to say. We haven't had many nice steady, soaking rains. Heavy [...]...� 


Who's Been Eating My Squash? 

Pickleworm entrance holes    08-21-2014 17:35:56 PM

I didn't notice the little holes when I cut the squash from the vine. It wasn't until they had been sitting in the harvest basket on the kitchen counter that I noticed the little pile of frass (insect "poop") on the outside of one of the zucchini that I had harvested. It looked like pale [...]...�

Did You Know?  
Andre's Four Points to a Perfect Lawn   
  1. Cut your lawn high! Andre suggests setting your mower blades to cut the grass no lower than 3". Grass mowed high develops extensive root systems and will shade out and compete better with broadleaf lawn weeds.
  2. Keep your blades sharp! Lawn mower blades should be sharpened several times during the season. When your mower blades are razor sharp, they slice off the grass cleanly. Dull blades tear and damage the grass blades leaving the lawn looking scorched and may lead to disease problems.
  3. Water properly! Deep, slow watering (putting down 1 1/2" water each time) every 7-10 days leads to healthy lawns with deep root systems.
  4. Go organic! Use organic fertilizers such as Espoma Organic Lawn Food or Milorganite to fertilize your lawn. These organics release nutrients slowly over time so you only need to apply them 2 or 3 times a year - in spring and fall, and sometimes in summer.


Controlling Nutsedge or Nutgrass 

This tip from
Yellow nutsedge
Yellow nutsedge
Yellow nutsedge is a perennial
plant that reproduces primarily by small underground tubers called nutlets. It can also spread by rhizomes (below ground stems).  
Farmers have difficulty controlling this weed, and as farm land is converted to home sites, yellow nutsedge plants and nutlets, are often found in the soil of lawns.
Nutsedge is most easily identified by the triangular shape of the flower stem ("sedges have edges"). If you roll the stem of the plant in your fingers, you should be able to feel the triangular shape. The leaves are light green to yellowish in color and are very slick or waxy to the touch.


Yellow nutsedge grows most actively during the hot months of summer. Often the leaves of yellow nutsedge will grow 2 to 4 inches above the turf canopy. During spring and fall, when temperatures are cooler and growth is slower, yellow nutsedge is not as easily noticed.
Nutsedge thrives in moist soils. One of the best ways to control it is to improve the drainage so that the area dries out. This will make the conditions less favorable for the nutsedge and allow your turfgrass to take over and fill in. 
Herbicides may be required when large patches of nutsedge are present in the turf area. 
  • For homeowners, herbicides like Bonide Weed Beater Complete containing Prodiamine and Sulfentrazone provide good control when applied according to the label directions. 
    • Bonide Weed Beater Complete offers an effective control for all varieties of nutgrass in your lawn. 
  • Bonide Sedge Ender also provides pre and post emergent control of nutgrass (and all sedges) as well as many other problem grassy type weeds. 
  • These products are not available in some states.
Fall Leaves Enrich the Soil!
Leaves on the lawn  
In not too many weeks, the leaves will begin to fall.
Don't let these leaves build up on the lawn!


Your grass can literally be smothered by densely packed autumn leaves! For the health of your lawn, it is important to rake or blow the leaves off the grass.


    But don't let this precious resource go to waste!

Fall leaves are "gold" to gardeners because they provide a fantastic source of "free" organic nutrients for your lawn and gardens.


a mulching mower chops up the leaves and deposits small pieces on the lawn
A mulching mower chops up leaves and deposits the small pieces on the lawn
If you regularly mow your leaf covered lawn before the leaves get too thick, you may never have to rake a single leaf! The mower shreds the leaves into small pieces which will break down quickly in a compost pile. As long as the leaves aren't piled too deeply, a mulching mower makes the job even easier because the chopped leaves are deposited right on the lawn where they will break down over the winter, providing nutrients to the grass and improving soil structure.


Shredded leaves also make a great organic mulch and soil conditioner for your perennial beds and vegetable gardens.


Aloha - Join Mark on a Trip to Hawaii  
Hawaii Four-Island Agricultural Tour
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Lava flows in Hawaii
Join Mark Viette on this unique tour of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Hawaii

Tour highlights include:
Oahu - Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Punchbowl Crater, Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial with shuttle boat ride 
Kauai - Opaekaa Falls, Wailua Riverboat Cruise, Fern Grotto, Steel Grass Farm 
Pineapples Maui - Iao Valley State Park and Iao Needle Lookout Point, Old Whaling Capital of Lahaina, Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation
Hawaii - Hilo, Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Loa & Kilauea Volcanoes, Jaggar Museum, Giant Ferns, Thurston's Lava Tube, Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, NELHA, fish farm

PLUS two gardening presentations given by Mark Viette.


Click for more information about this exciting trip.
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