As the calendar pushed into September, I thought we might begin to get more fall-like conditions for late season vegetable gardens and landscape plantings. We need some heat and drought relief for unirrigated turf grass areas in the Piedmont too. Since I have several areas with crowded perennial flowers and October is usually a good time to dig them up, I will need to renovate some planting areas while culling poor or diseased plants.

Since October continues to give us high temperatures and little rain completing the digging, culling and placing them in new or renovated beds will require a planned effort. I usually designate a fully shaded area with access to a water hose for holding cleaned plants. Plants can be grouped tightly together, but old 1-2 gallon pots can be used to hold plants in the shade until the planting area is ready and time is available to divide and replant them into new areas. I say this with the anticipation of coming lower temperatures typical of October.

Rather than attempting to predict our weather conditions over the next two to four weeks I think it would be wise to take an inventory of current perennial planting first. I will assess how various perennials are performing and whether it is time to give them some extra space. Selecting a new bed site has become harder on my property because of the maturing of many recently planted landscape trees. Even though I have utilized small maturing trees in recent years such as dogwood, Japanese maples and Crape myrtles, they have taken up a significant amount of space as they grow and can compete with perennials planted to close to them.

Renovating perennial flower beds planted in clay soils can be hard work, but loosening the soil for better plant root growth should help the vigor of many perennials. Adding compost to new beds and culling diseased plants should improve flower production for several years.

Pesticide recertification programs for commercial and private pesticide applicators are offered and give 3 hours recertification credit. Cost of the class is $30. Class will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday. Space is limited, call 864-223-3264, extension 116 or 114 for information.

A Chainsaw Safety Program will be offered at 2 p.m. Sept. 30. Training class is free. Register ahead by calling 864-223-3264, extension 116 or 114.

James Hodges is a Clemson Extension agent in Greenwood County. He can be reached at 864-223-3264.