All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

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"Fall Lawn Care - Now's the Best Time to Work on Lawns"

I consider mid to late August through fall to be one of the best times to work on lawns. Growing conditions are right to develop a thick, green, healthy lawn. There are a few lawn care tasks to do at this time of the year that will make the lawn look good right away and improve its future health including fertilizing, weed control, and grub control. Click on a product name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

To prevent perennial weed seeds that sprout in fall as well as fertilize the lawn to green it up fast this fall I apply Organic Lawn Weed and Feed, an easy, one-step lawn care program. I apply it myself with a drop spreader or broadcast spreader anytime now through fall. This safe and natural lawn weed and feed contains an organic, slow-release lawn food that fertilizes the lawn making it green up fast without burning. It also contains a safe and natural pre-emergent that prevents weed seeds from sprouting. This product is safe for people, pets, and wildlife and the lawn can be walked on immediately following treatment.

After applying the Organic Lawn Weed and Feed, I walk over the lawn and spot spray any existing weeds with Herbicidal Soap Spray, also a safe and natural product. This quickly gets rid of any weeds it is sprayed onto.

By using both of these products together you can get rid of even the toughest lawn weeds, including wild violets, ground ivy, dandelion, crabgrass, nutsedge, clover, purslane, and all other lawn weeds.

The most effective, long-term control of grubs is an organic product called Milky Spore Powder Grub Control. Only one application is necessary with the powder. Just one application lasts 20 years or more. I put it on my lawn and garden about 20 years ago and don't have any problems with grubs. I've heard from others that it is still effective and controlling grubs for 45 years with just one application. It is safe for people, pets, and wildlife. In addition to controlling grubs, it indirectly controls beetles since beetles begin as grubs. What's more, if moles, skunks, or birds are digging up the lawn looking for grubs, these pests will go away because their food source (the grubs) will be gone.

Milky Spore Powder Grub Control is easy to apply and you can do it now. All you do is drop a teaspoon of the powder roughly every four feet in a grid pattern throughout the lawn and garden, then water it in for about 10 minutes.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Astilbe blooms not opening? Suspect diseases or insects"

Q. Please answer one question. I have a wonderful Astilbe plant that has all kinds of little buds seemingly ready to open up, but they don't and they haven't all summer. They are gorgeous when they do open up, but all I've gotten is dead-looking "blooms" that have no color. This happens year after year. What am I doing wrong? I'll appreciate your input. Thanks.

A. With all the wet weather we had this past spring, I'd suspect some sort of disease is affecting the flowers. Powdery mildew has been very prevalent this year because of the wet spring and I've seen it on all sorts of plants, even those that normally don't have a problem with it.

An insect that might be causing the problem is aphids. Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that suck the juices out of the flower buds. They multiply rapidly because they bear live young and there can be thousands of them on a plant in a serious infestation.

Whether it's a disease or insect, I recommend spraying the plant with Neem Oil. Neem Oil is an all-natural spray that is an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide all in one. It can be used on all plants including roses, perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and house plants. It controls all stages of insects (adult, larvae, and egg). It acts as a growth regulator, antifeedant, repellent, and contact killer of many common and hard-to-control insect pests including aphids, Japanese beetles and other beetles, whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs, Colorado potato beetle, striped cucumber beetle, caterpillars, hemlock woolly adelgid, scale, lily leaf beetle, fourlined plant bug, asparagus beetle, thrips, weevils or curculios (a type of weevil), sawfly, bean leaf beetle, Mexican bean beetle, flea beetle, spotted grapevine beetle, leafhoppers, leafminers, squash bug, leafrollers, psyllids, midges, fruit flies, lace bugs, and many, many more. It is safe for beneficials.

The oil component makes it a very effective natural fungicide for controlling diseases like black spot on roses, rust, early blight on tomatoes, fruit tree diseases, and powdery mildew on phlox, lilacs, and roses, downy mildew, anthracnose, fungal leaf spot, botrytis (gray mold), needle rust, scab, flower, twig, and tip blight, snow mold on lawn, and alternaria. It actually rinses powdery mildew away! You don't have to know what the insect or disease is, since neem oil probably controls it.

Click here to order Neem Oil from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.


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