Moving Towards Fall and all the Fall Colors!

The days are getting shorter and the nights and days are getting cooler as we move towards fall when many of our flowering annuals respond to the cooler weather with a new round of flowers. The surviving tomatoes, peppers and other veggies often produce a fresh crop of fruit or goodies as they de-stress and recharge with the cooler weather. Apply your final application of fertilizer to trees, shrubs and flowers as we head into the final six to eight weeks of this growing season.   Apply weed and feed type fertilizer with winter weed killer or herbicides to your lawn to prevent or at least reduce winter weed stands in your lawn.

You can mulch tender perennials, as well as new shrub and tree plantings as we head toward winter to help insulate them from extreme winter conditions and to reduce the need for winter watering . This is the prime season to sow and establish tall fescue lawn grass or overseed your existing Bermuda or summer grass lawn to enjoy a green lawn this winter. You can start shopping for the best selection of tulips, daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs at your local garden center even though I prefer to wait to plant them until after mid October or in November when the soil temperatures have cooled a little more.

Trees and shrubs do more to change our environment and your landscaping than most anything else you can do. Fall is a great time, some think the best time, to plant trees and shrubs. Trees planted this time of year have more of a chance to get rooted out into their new soil environment and established so they can uptake moisture and nutrition before facing the punishing heat of next summer. We are blessed with a large portfolio of trees and shrubs that do well in our part of the country and your local nurseryman can help you select the best species and varieties for your soil, location and application.   Do you need a fast growing tree, a large shade tree or a smaller sight screening tree, fruit tree, flowering tree or trees for a windbreak? Slower growing trees usually experience less storm damage and live longer but take a little longer to grow and make an impact. Soil preparation or preparing the hole for your new trees and shrubs has a huge impact on success of your new plantings. Dig the hole, which will be the long time home of your new trees and shrubs, about twice as big as needed, backfill with twenty to fifty percent sphagnum peat or compost mixed with the soil from the hole and then plant your new trees and shrubs.

Hardy mums or chrysanthemums are one of my favorite plants of fall. They produce spectacular mounds of color in white, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and other colors that can really liven up a flowerbed or decorative containers. Most nurseries and garden centers offer many varieties at this time of year in 4, 6 or 8 inch pots or even larger 2, 3 and 5 gallon sizes in bud and ready to put on a flower show from now until the first hard freeze.   Growing up, hardy mums in flower and football games meant fall was in the air and provided great memories of these magical autumn gardening weeks before a hard freeze puts much of nature to sleep until next spring.

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