University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
BATTLING SLUGS AND
OTHER SEPTEMBER GARDENING TIPS
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Battling slugs, moving houseplants that spent the
summer outdoors back inside, and digging summer bulbs are some of the gardening
tips for this month.
Don't turn a blind eye toward
slugs because they are still laying eggs for next year. Use traps, diatomaceous
earth, or whatever method works, just keep them from multiplying. If slugs are
a big problem, consider raking leaves off your garden beds and leaving them
bare for the winter so the cold will kill any exposed adults and eggs. You can trap slugs in rolls of moist
newspaper left in the garden, then discard.
Or place small boards where they hide under by day and you can find them. There are several copper products you can
place around precious plants to deter slugs.
Others use bands of egg shells or similar crushed and sharp materials.
Gradually condition indoor
plants that have spent the summer outdoors to lower light conditions.
to a shady spot outdoors for a week, then move them into the sunniest
indoors for a couple of weeks before moving them to their permanent
Dunk them in soapy water to clean the foliage (a sink or bathtub is
this), and spray with insecticidal soap if insects are a problem. Do
they need repotting? Now is a good time before bringing in.
When the first frost blackens
the foliage of dahlias (or if a hard freeze is predicted), cut off the stems
about 6 inches above the tubers. Carefully dig the clumps with a spade or fork,
and let them dry out of direct sun
and wind for a day (not too long or they'll begin to shrivel). Store the tuber
clumps whole (you'll get larger plants), or make more plants by carefully
separating the tubers from the stem, making sure to include any
"eyes" (small, raised nubs near where the tubers attach to the main
stem) with each tuber. These are the future sprouts. Store tubers in cardboard
boxes or mesh bags filled with peat moss, vermiculite, or sawdust. Keep them in
a dark, 35- to 50-degree (F) location.
After the foliage has been
damaged by frost, allow cannas to dry in the ground for a few days, then cut
back the stems to 3 to 4 inches and carefully dig the rhizomes and let them dry
at room temperature for a few days. Store in cardboard boxes or mesh bags
filled with vermiculite or peat moss at 40 to 50 degrees for the winter. In
spring, plant the entire clump or separate the rhizomes, leaving a portion of
the old stem attached to each one.
You can keep geraniums growing
and blooming indoors by cutting them back by about a third and then starting to
fertilize them a couple of weeks later. Keep plants in a sunny window. Or to
keep them dormant for the winter, move the potted plants into a dark, cool (40
to 50 degrees) location. Don't water them and don't cut them back until they
show new growth in spring.
Buy and plant bulbs now for
spring blooms. Unless you have wet or
poorly drained soil, bulbs should grow fine.
If you have problems with deer and squirrels in the garden, you might
avoid tulips. Daffodils add cheery
spring blooms, and are resistant to feeding by animals. Or, try interplanting
daffodils with tulips to fool them!
Return to Perry's Perennial