Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


September 9, 2013

Plateau Gardening: Winding down at summer’s end  

CROSSVILLE — September is the best time to start from seed a new cool season lawn or to refurbish turf of this type. Turfgrass demonstration plots have been planted near the old weather station within Discovery Gardens on the grounds of the University of Tennessee Plateau Research and Education Center, 320 Experiment Station Rd., Crossville. These allow residents to compare various grass colors and textures side by side.

The gardens are open for self-guided tours during daylight hours seven days per week. To attend a September Plateau Discovery Gardens education session — Salsa: From Garden to Table with Chef Dean on Saturday, Sept. 14 ($5 fee at registration) or Wine Making with Fay Wheeler of Stonehaus Winery Monday, Sept. 23 — pre-register by calling 484-0034 or email Glenda at

A soil pH test is an accurate way to determine whether your soil is too acid for grass or plants you wish to grow. Lime is used to increase soil alkalinity when the pH is too low. Contact your county University of Tennessee Extension office in person or by telephone if you have questions about gathering the sample and to learn what the current fee is for each one. Soil samples are sent to the laboratory by mail, but those who wish to get the results quickly can choose to receive the test report by email. Recommendations for the amount of fertilizer to be used and the intervals at which it should be applied will be included in the report.

Buy spring flowering bulbs, trees and shrubs now while a good selection is available then hold them for transplanting later. Install woody plants after they have entered dormancy. Trees and shrubs signal this by dropping their leaves.

The first weeks of September are a good time to assess what went right and what went wrong in your yard this season. If the age-old "right plant in the right place" formula was spot on in your case, routine yard maintenance and clean up may be the most important items on your garden to-do list this fall. If things are less than perfect, you may try remedies or replace problem plants with different ones better suited to your situation or to the location.

As I expected, photos on the University of Tennessee Soil, Plant and Pest Center Facebook page ( show I’m not the only gardener in the state dealing with problems like powdery mildew. Plant diseases can be extremely bad in rainy years like 2013 because fungal spores thrive in moist conditions. My neighbor is still hoping to win the fight against powdery mildew on honeysuckle vines planted at the base of the wooden surround for his propane tank. Homemade baking-soda sprays haven’t helped. Since the tank is on northern side where the house blocks sunlight and airflow is poor, I don’t think the odds are in his favor but I do admire his tenacity. I have decided to dig and discard tall phlox seedlings whose leaves show signs of mildew. Do not leave diseased plant materials around. Do not add them to the mix of chopped leaves and grass clippings when making compost.

Gardeners who have houseplants outdoors for the summer need to treat them to eliminate insect pests then bringing them back indoors this winter. Two applications of soapy-water spray or insecticidal soap does it. I usually bring in pots of tender herbs like basil and thyme to live under grow lights in the lower level over the winter.

• • •

Plateau Gardening is written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region.  Contact UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (484-6743) for answers to horticulture questions, free publications and how to become a Master Gardener. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae,

Text Only
  • 20140412_110402.jpg Kids get creative at Youth Expo

    Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE) held its annual Youth Expo Saturday, providing young people an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of artistic endeavors, from music and writing to painting and traditional crafts of weaving and spinning.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • AROUND THE TOWN: The Easter egg hunt that never was

    The Easter Bunny should be able to deliver his baskets in pretty nice weather this weekend. The Good Friday and Easter holiday weekend should feature much warmer temperatures than we had earlier this week when snow showers fell on Cumberland County. Cumberland County students were released Tuesday for spring break, but their last day of school for the week found snow and ice falling from the sky and temperatures in the 20s. Students will return to class on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo