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Ask UConn Extension: Biodegradable Plastic Mulch

green head of lettuce growing on white biodegradable plastic mulch at Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, Connecticut
Photo: Stacey Stearns

Farmers: Are you considering biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM) for your crops? Shuresh Ghimire, UConn Extension educator for vegetable crops, visits Bruce Gresczyk Jr. of Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, Connecticut to discuss biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM), and the advantages and disadvantages of BDM for vegetable farmers: youtu.be/kyvB1QxHAtE

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10 Tips for the October Gardener

  1. Dig and store tender bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers in a cool, dark, place.
  2. Remove plant debris from the flowerbeds. Bag any diseased plant parts and put it in the trash or take it to a landfill but do not compost.
  3. Take a scenic drive to observe the changing fall foliage. The CT DEEP has fall foliage driving routes for Connecticut.
  4. Rosemary is not hardy in most areas of Connecticut. Bring plants in before temperatures drop too low but check plants thoroughly for insects such as mealybugs. Rinse the foliage, remove the top layer of the soil surface, and wipe down containers.
  5. Squash and pumpkins should be harvested when they have bright color and a thick, hard skin. These vegetables will be
    butternut squash stacked on a table at a farm stand in Connecticut
    Butternut squash. Photo: Stacey Stearns

    abundant in farmer’s markets and will make a colorful and healthy addition to fall dinners.

  6. As tomatoes end their production cut down plants and pick up any debris and put in the trash or take to a landfill. Many diseases will over-winter on old infected leaves and stems, so these are best removed from the property.
  7. Remove, bag and trash any Gypsy moth, Bagworm, or Eastern tent caterpillar egg masses or spray them with a commercial horticultural oil to smother them.
  8. Cold-hardy fruit trees including Honeycrisp and Cortland apples, Reliance peach, Superior plum, most pawpaws and American persimmon can still be planted into October. Continue to water until the ground freezes hard.
  9. Outwit hungry squirrels and chipmunks by planting bulbs in established groundcovers.
  10. Drain garden hoses and store in a shed, garage, or basement for the winter. Turn off all outside faucets at the inside shut-off valve, turn on the outside faucet to drain any water left in them, and then shut them off.

For more October gardening tips, visit the Home and Garden Education Center resources, or one of our nine Extension Master Gardener offices statewide.

Article: UConn Home and Garden Education Center

Ask UConn Extension

food, health and sustainability venn diagram

Do you have food, health, or environmental sustainability questions?

Ask UConn Extension.

We have specialists located throughout the state to answer your questions and connect you with the power of UConn research.

Fill out this form with your question: http://bit.ly/AskUConnExtension

FertAdvisor App Available from UConn

FertAdvisor app informationDr. Jason Henderson, Associate Professor of Turfgrass and Soil Sciences at University of Connecticut, is the lead investigator of an ongoing, multiple year research project that has been evaluating conventional, organic, and pesticide-free management systems for athletic fields and home lawns. Other investigators involved with the project include Vickie Wallace, John Inguagiato, Karl Guillard, Steve Rackliffe, and Tom Morris. To date, two graduate students have completed research studies while collecting data on this project.

Dr. Henderson has been a champion of research that supports environmentally sound turf care practices. Besides collecting data on the various management regimes, Dr. Henderson and his team of collaborators set out to develop a smartphone app, FertAdvisor, that assists users in calculating the amount of lawn fertilizer required to properly fertilize turfgrass areas.

FertAdvisor is designed to provide users with a comprehensive tool that will help ensure accurate applications of fertilizer and reduce misapplications that can potentially damage turfgrass, waste fertilizer and/or pose environmental risk. The app has recommendations about application techniques, accurate calibration, fertilizer timing, and nitrogen source selection. Built-in calculators within the app help determine how much fertilizer will be needed to properly fertilize turfgrass areas, streamlining calibration calculations and calculating the amount of nitrogen, phosphate and potash that will be applied to the area based on the fertilizer selected.

Animations and videos guide turfgrass enthusiasts on how to take a soil sample, properly apply fertilizer using both drop and rotary spreaders, calibrate a fertilizer spreader, and calculate lawn surface area. Ten tips and tricks for managing cool-season lawns are also provided, in order to help homeowners make the right decisions for a healthy lawn.

FertAdvisor is available for both iPhone and android users. It’s easy to use and takes the guesswork out of lawn fertilizer applications.

Submitted by Vickie Wallace and Jason Henderson

10 Tips for the August Gardener

Ten Tips for the August Gardener

flowersClick on highlighted links for additional information.

  • Fertilize perennials with a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 product to encourage continued blooming.
  • Scout for C-shaped notches on the edges of the leaves of your perennials such as dahlias, roses, basil or coleus that are caused by Asiatic beetle feeding.
  • Houseplants can dry out quicker in the heat and extra sunlight of summer. Check them frequently to evaluate their moisture needs.
  • Keep an eye out for insect, slug, and snail damage throughout the garden. Use the controls in our fact sheet Snails and Slugs.
  • Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms. Replant sites with chard, quick maturing beans or cucumbers, leafy greens etc.
  • Even though tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, fruits develop greatest flavor when allowed to ripen on plants. The exception is cherry tomatoes since many varieties are prone to splitting. Pick any almost ripe ones before a heavy rain.
  • Pick up, bag, and trash (do not compost) any dropped apples that show signs of apple maggot.
  • Think about what fruits trees you might like to add to your yard this fall. Some suggestions for native plants may be found at Trees and Shrubs: Suggested Native Species for Pollinators.
  • Reseeding the lawn in late August gives the new grass two growing periods (fall and spring) before the heat of summer. Be sure to keep the seed moist until germination.
  • Fruiting plants such as winterberry, holly, and firethorn need regular watering during dry spells to ensure that berries mature and don’t drop off.

For more information visit the UConn Home and Garden Education Center or email ladybug@uconn.edu.