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More Fall Planting - October 18th, 2020


I recently wrote a piece on fall planting mostly the planting of trees and shrubs. In that piece I suggested that I would wait and plant bulbs a little later.

I think it is safe now to start planting spring blooming bulbs. Looking at the long-range weather forecasts I don’t see any forecasts of warm days that are predicted to last more than a few days. If I saw a forecast of say ten days in a row I might wait to plant. I want to avoid any weather that cause the bulbs to start to grow. If that happens then a sudden cold snap might burn the new growth.

Any spring blooming bulbs should be planted in the fall. They can be planted even in mid-winter if the soil is not frozen. Bulbs that bloom in the summer or early fall should not be planted until next spring.

Not only flower bulbs but edible bulbs such as onion and garlic can be planted at this time. Onion planted now should be ready to use by the end of February or early March depending on the severity of the winter. Garlic being a long season crop is best if planted in the fall.

Herbs that will over winter outside can also be planted now. This will give them time to root in over the winter, thus giving you a head start in the spring. When I say over winter, I mean herbs that are normally grown all year outside such as lavender or rosemary.

Shrubs and trees can be planted any time of the year that you can work the soil. Roses are safe to plant at this time. I have seen some great prices on roses, fruit trees and other plants that nurseries would like to clear out and not have to over winter. Look around at different garden centers, they may have just the plant you need, or want, at a bargain price. Also, check out mail order sources. I have seen some good deals by some of the mail order companies.

As always if you are not certain about the safety of planting something you see for sale ask a clerk for advice. If they can't help you buy somewhere else.

Fall Planting - October 6th, 2020


This morning while taking care of some things outside I got to thinking what a great day this would be to plant something. A tree, a shrub, a rose, divide and replant some perennials, maybe some spring blooming bulbs, even some onion or garlic.


Actually, for me I might rather wait a few more weeks on the bulbs, onion and garlic. If we got a few days of warm temperatures they might start to grow which probably wouldn’t hurt them but why take a chance.


The point of this is that fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs are preparing themselves for winter. They are getting ready to hibernate from now until spring. All top growth has ceased. Deciduous plants are changing color and getting ready to drop leaves. Once top growth ceases and the sap is down, then the roots of the plant start to grow. In other words, the roots grow during cold weather and the top of the plant grows in warm weather.


I will prune trees and shrubs that I am fixing to plant as much as I think they can stand and still look good in the spring. By pruning when you plant you make the plant need less water when new growth emerges in the spring. Also, when you plant in the fall the soil has more moisture and you have very little watering to do. Usually, when I plant a plant in the fall, I water good at the time I plant and I may never water the plant again. The roots of the plant will grow all winter producing a strong plant in the spring.


Now there is one drawback to fall planting, particularly trees and shrubs. The major drawback to fall planting is availability. Having owned and operated a retail garden center I know how difficult and expensive it is to overwinter plant inventory. We wanted to reduce inventory as much as we could. Thus, if you want to plant in the fall you will likely not find nearly the selection to choose from that you would find in the spring. A plus is that in order to reduce inventory prices may also be reduced. If you are planting a quantity of plants make the nursery an offer. Who knows they make take you up on the offer. Carry cash that might sweeten the offer.

Fall Is Here - September 22nd, 2020


I have the feeling that I missed summer altogether. I have stayed close to home since the China virus hit in early spring. According to the so-called experts because of my age I am in the high-risk category. Not certain that is true but that’s what they say. My wife being diabetic and some other issues probably is so common sense dictates we stay in, like it or not.

Staying close to home it seems I should have got a lot done but I didn’t. Now fall is here and there are fall things to be done.

First, if you have houseplants that have been outside for the summer there are somethings that you should do before you bring them inside. I want to remove dead leave and twigs. Then do any pruning that is needed. I then lay the plant on its side and give it a good washing with the garden hose. After the foliage is dry, I then spray with an all-purpose insecticide.

If possible, I then like to set the plant, pot and all, in a tub of water that covers the root ball. I leave it in the water until it ceases to bubble. This removes insects that might be in the soil. I once brought in a plant that had a nest of ants in the soil. The ants didn’t hurt the plant but they did upset my wife when they emerged.

Now the plant is ready to bring inside before the first frost.

Fall pruning of trees and shrubs can now be done safely. I don’t want to prune in late summer. Early pruning might allow new growth on the plant that would be killed by early frost.

Remember you do not prune spring blooming plants or trees in the fall. Their bloom was set a few weeks after they dropped bloom in the spring. If you prune now you will be cutting off next spring's blooms. Evergreens are safe to prune now. Deciduous trees and shrubs I prefer to prune in late winter before spring growth emerges.

All dead leaves, twigs and such should be removed from beds and borders as soon as possible. Left in the beds they harbor disease and insects over the winter. Clean the beds and spray with an all-purpose insecticide will help when spring arrives.

Last now is a good time to edge and mulch beds to have them looking good for the winter. If there is a chance of much leaf drop, I would postpone the mulching until later in the winter.

Just a few tips to help with safely bringing in your plants for the winter and preparing your outside to look its best for the winter.


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Plant of the Week - Pansies



**Cool weather flower
**Heart Shaped, overlapping petal
**Bright colors, bi-colors or face-like centers
**Full sun to partial shade
**6 - 9" H, 9 -12" W
**Bloom Spring to early summer.
**Repeat bloom in fall throughout winter


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