Home & Garden

Gardener’s almanac (Nov. 8)

Use a plastic scraper to dislodge dried grass deposits from the underside of the mower deck.
Use a plastic scraper to dislodge dried grass deposits from the underside of the mower deck. File photo

Last mowing of the season — At your last mowing of the season, be sure that your fescue is mowed to a height of 3 to 3 1/2 inches, Bermuda and zoysia at about 2 inches, and buffalo at 2 to 3 inches. If the grass is left too tall, it can get matted down, which increases its chances for winter diseases such as snow mold.

Mowing the leaves — Apart from mowing the lawn, mowing the leaves on the lawn is a good idea. While a scattering of leaves is fine, a heavy cover of them for an extended length of time keeps sunlight from reaching the grass plants, leaving them unable to make the carbohydrates needed to carry them through the winter, Ward Upham of K-State says. You can mow without a bag and let the shredded leaves sit on the turf. Try to mow the leaves often enough that they don’t get deep, he says; aim for mowing while you can still see some grass.

Winterizing the lawnmower — Once you know that you’ve mowed grass and/or leaves for the last time, drain the gas tank of gasoline-powered engines or use a gasoline stabilizer, Upham recommends. “Untreated gasoline can become thick and gummy,” he writes in the Horticulture 2014 newsletter. “A few drops of oil squirted inside the spark plug hole (after you remove the spark plug) will help lubricate the cylinder. While you have the spark plug removed, replace it with a new one. If your equipment has a battery, clean the battery terminals, which usually corrode during the season. A wire-bristle brush is a good tool for doing this. The battery can then be removed or connected to a battery monitor that will keep it charged over winter. If you remove the battery, be sure to store it in a protected location for the winter (a cool basement works best).” It’s also a good time to sharpen the mower blades.

Garden events

Rose program — Members of the Wichita Rose Society who attended the national rose show in Tyler, Texas, along with photos from rose gardens in Texas will be given during the Wichita Rose Society’s meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Botanica. The society also will talk about roses it will be ordering to sell at Herb Day next year, which members can pre-order. A social half-hour starts at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Holiday porch pots talk — Karen Hull from Johnson’s Garden Center will be at Botanica on Wednesday to show how to decorate a porch with pots for the holidays. Her lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.