Dr. Dirt: Leaves make great compost

INDIANAPOLIS - I had all but given up hope for my rain gauge, but I kept the faith!

Saturday and Sunday it collected 4.75 inches of rain, which was more than enough to fill my three rain barrels.

So, things are looking up for plants. Meanwhile, the leaves are falling. Shredded tree leaves make good compost and mulch. It should be easy to core aerate lawns with the rain. This is an annual job that loosens the soil and reduces thatch. Both weeds and grass will have a spurt of growth before cold weather arrives. In fact, Jack Frost is still holding back, but he will come!

Get ready to harvest green tomatoes with the threat of frost. Fried green tomatoes are a fall treat. Spot treating of lawns for weed control works well now that the weeds are growing rapidly. With the exception of tulips, most of the spring-flowering bulbs can be planted.

If squirrels are a problem digging up the bulbs, cover the area with chicken wire until the ground freezes.

Lots of people are anxious to prune. Wait until spring to prune rose bushes. Plants that bloom before June 30 are pruned right after they bloom.  Plants that bloom after July are pruned when they are dormant. Prune evergreens anytime the wood is not frozen. Prune shade trees with the help of a certified arborist. 

Boxelder bugs, stinkbugs, crickets, lady beetles and a few other bugs along with spiders are looking for winter quarters inside buildings like your home. A little caulk goes a long way in closing cracks and tiny openings around the outside of your house. Do the caulking before the bugs go indoors and the weather is still warm. Yellow jackets and hornets are still very active.  Once we have had a good freeze, these bad bugs will be history.

Dr. Dirt will be hosting an Ambassaidair Tournament of Roses trip to sunny California, which is a good way to see the Rose Parade and the beautiful floats up close after the parade.  For details call Ambassaidair today. 

Happy Gardening, Dr. Dirt

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