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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of September 4, 2017

Welcome to September!  It is still a great time to plant and enjoy your garden!

  • When considering plants to invite pollinators to your landscape, don’t forget the lawn.  Pollinators love lawns with thyme and clover in them.
  • Be sure to remove all overripe or damaged fruit from the vegetable garden on a regular basis.  Doing so will help to avoid attracting sap beetles.  These insects love to feed on dropped or damaged fruit.  Tomatoes that have been damaged by birds, slugs or disease are a favorite of theirs.
  • If you have a vacant spot in the vegetable garden, dig a hole and toss in lettuce leaves, apple peels or orange rinds.  They will decay and create wonderful compost.
  • Some plants that will keep your garden colorful until frost and feed your local butterflies include ‘Sheffield’ garden mum, Verbena bonariensis, ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod, Mexican sunflower and Zinnia elegans.
  • If you have the invasive vine Lonicera japonica – Japanese Honeysuckle in your garden, consider replacing it with the native alternative Lonicera sempervirens – Scarlet Honeysuckle.
  • When pruning an arborvitae, keep in mind that this randomly branched conifer can regrow wherever there is foliage.  Cut wood back either to side branches or to where foliage persists.  To make the plant denser, cut back the tips of the stems or shear.
  • When considering bulb additions for your landscape this fall, don’t forget narcissus which are more commonly called daffodils.  They have built in longevity, are rarely bothered by disease and very uninteresting to rodents.  Experts recommend them for naturalizing referring to the vigorous, tough species and cultivars that will survive and multiply year after year with very little to no attention.  Keep in mind, however, they will not tolerate their feet being wet.  When choosing a spot for them, plant narcissus in well-drained soil.
  • A wonderful addition to the fall garden, especially if you live along the coast is Aster spectabilis – Seaside Aster.  The flowers range from bright violet to purple.  It can be invasive, spreading by underground runners.  It loves a sandy, acid, reasonably moist location in sun or light shade.  It will adapt to garden use and heavier soils.  It is not bothered by pests or disease.

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