Beautiful Days Of October!

We are in the charming and beautiful days of October, which the old timers often called the second planting season. The temperatures have moderated, we have been blessed with some fall rains and most of nature seems to be happy enjoying this pleasant respite between the intense scorching heat of summer and the cold dreary days of winter. This is a great time to think long term and to plant new trees, shrubs and perennials that can beautify and enhance your landscape and property for years, even generations to come. Many of those old timers used to advise me that in their opinion, fall was really the best planting season for trees and shrubs as they have so much longer to get established before facing that scorching heat and the hot dry winds that define Oklahoma summers. Spring planted trees only have a few weeks or months to get ready for our Oklahoma summer furnace experience while fall planted trees will have six to eight months to get rooted in and established in their new environment before confronting their first dehydrating Oklahoma summer. With container grown trees and shrubs we can now plant year round with reasonable success but we are most in tune with Mother Nature and it requires the least extra watering if we tackle these long term plantings in the wonderful natural windows of fall or spring. We have hundreds of great choices in trees that can adapt and grow well here in Oklahoma and literally thousands of choices in shrubs. Before you visit your local nurseryman or garden center for help in selecting the best trees for your landscape put a little thought into the size of tree you want when it is mature. Do you want a giant shade tree to shade the whole backyard or do you want a grove of smaller trees to fill in a corner of the property? Do you want a spring flowering tree or an impressive fall color tree? You can help the nurseryman give you better advice and suggestions on your landscape choices if you take a few pictures with your cell phone or camera of your yard, showing your home or barns and where you want to plant your new trees or shrubs. As with most things in life, a lot of success depends on good planning and preparation so dig a hole about one and a half to two times larger than needed, add sphagnum peat or good compost to the backfill and plant your new trees and shrubs. Then soak in your new plantings and be prepared to water regularly through the winter if we go a stretch without natural rains. Fall plantings do not require as much extra water as spring plantings because the day length is shortening, the temperatures are cooling and the plants will be less active, not doing as much photosynthesis, transpiration or evaporation. Don’t forget to buy and plant spring flowering bulbs now to create a big color splash next spring. Tulips, hyacinths, crocus, daffodils and many other bulbs are available now at your local nurseries and garden centers. Plant the gorgeous hardy mums and fall asters, ornamental kale and cabbage for color now and into early winter. If you plant pansies now they will provide color and excitement from now through most of our winters. Plant tall fescue seed if you want to cover bare soil until next spring or to overseed your summer lawn to create a green lawn this winter.

This is a great season to decorate for fall with crops we have grown all summer. Pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks are great fun, add lots of color and are a fun way to celebrate the harvest and enjoy fall at your home or business. Get outside and enjoy the color and fruits of your spring and summer flowers and then dig in and plant some new trees, shrubs or perennials in this second planting season.

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