July’s and August’s weather could not have been anymore different. July was hot and dry, so hot that one of the warmest days ever occurred mid-month as the temperature topped out at around 106 degrees Fahrenheit from Glens Falls to Baltimore. August did an about face as thunderstorms and steady rain lasted most of the month. August could go down in history as the first or second wettest month on record. Between 17-23” of rain fell in our area as Tropical Storm Irene added an average of 6-9 inches in southern Dutchess County.
The lawn turned deep green and crab grass was not as aggressive as it usually is. Now is the time to renovate weak lawn areas. Soil compacted areas from the heavy rain should be aerated and top dressed with a mix of sand, leaf mold and calcified lime. Depending on your exposure, seed soon after with a northern blend of rye, fescue and bluegrass. Continue mowing as high as you can tolerate. This high mowing will eliminated broadleaf lawn applications.
Most plants began growing again in August. Shrubs and trees put on a moderate amount of growth and some light pruning may have to be done before winter. Prune out dead, weak and diseased wood first and then work on shaping the plant.
Weeds were very aggressive this summer. Weeding is a chore we either love or hate. Weeding teaches us what a plant looks like at a young age. We can learn more about local botany while weeding than in any text book or website. If you are an aggressive weeder you had a tough time keeping your nails clean this summer.
September, as we all know, is the last month of summer. September is warm days and cool nights. September is canning, apple pies, and cider. The small sour crab apples make the best cider. September is nut season as the Oaks, Hickey and Beech drop their harvest. September is foggy mornings and clear starry nights. September is the beginning of fall color. The Sumac, Virginia Creeper and Mums put on their war paint. September is the month we start the fireplace or woodstove for the first time. If we were lucky we found some down apple or cherry trees for a sweet smelling fire this early season. September is the New England Aster, one of my favorite perennials. September is golden rod, a perfect Fall color perennial, just ask the honey bees. September is the first cool blast out of the north and the first biting breeze that requires a heavy jacket. September is the smell of ripe fruit with Apple Punk and Pumpkin being two of my favorites. September is the harvest moon. September is late corn, tomatoes, root vegetables, and some berries. September is another one of nature’s rhythms that remind us that change is good and this is the time of year to accept and embrace another season.
Pete & The Natives