Fertilize cool-season lawns — The most important time of year to fertilize fescue is September. If you fertilize no other time of year, do so now. If you fertilize at other times of the year, do so now. The second most important time is November. Lawns that are fertilized in the fall seem to green up earlier in the spring, extension agent Rebecca McMahon says. Early spring is actually not the time to fertilize.
“Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses,” Ward Upham of K-State says.
Apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually equal about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, Upham says. The nitrogen in fall feedings should be quick-release; usually only lawn fertilizers marked for summer use contain slow-release nitrogen, Upham says.
Here are Upham’s instructions for dividing:
First, remove the leaves, then dig up the entire plant. Shake and wash off as much soil as possible so that the pink buds or “eyes” are visible. Each division should have three to four buds, and you’ll need to use a sharp knife to cut through the tough roots.
Space the plants so that there is at least 2 feet between dwarf types and 4 feet between standard types.
Planting for divisions is the same as for new plants: Make sure the pink buds are about 1 inch below the soil, and no more. As you place soil around the plants, keep firming the soil as you go so that the eye does not sink any lower than 1 inch. Water in well, and continue to water through fall and winter as needed to keep the soil moist.
After the soil freezes — usually sometime in December — add a mulch of straw, leaves, compost or other organic material.
• Butternut turns from light beige to deep tan. Acorn is a deep green, but it has a ground spot that changes from yellow to orange. Hubbard squash is gray or orange at maturity.
• Check for toughness by trying to puncture the rind with your thumbnail or fingernail. If it easily penetrates the skin, the squash is not yet mature. The stem should also be dry enough that excessive water doesn’t drip from it.
For long-term storage, winter squash ideally should be stored at a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees with 50 to 70 percent relative humidity. Acorn squash will usually last five to eight weeks, butternuts two to three months and hubbards five to six months in such conditions.