Click through five articles for a fine week in early fall
European corn borer: Also a pest in
Courage to cut back overgrown Christmas
How much cold can a houseplant
What to do now as the first fall
• Fall as a great time to plant
• Beware rootbound plants
• Cold care for tender specialties jade, rosemary
• Sharp eyed fall perennial clean up
• Revel in the leaf
• Slow release fertilizer
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Thumbs up to seeing
patterns: Problem is site not plant
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This week in our
Grow with us! This week as the very first fall frosts come,
Planting's better in
Wave our banner that says "It's not too late to plant!" It's sad
to see so many great plants being put away for winter at garden
centers when they should be rolling out the door and making a great
start in the landscape.
Not so long ago, it was common knowledge that fall was the best
planting season. That changed, but not on account of horticultural
evidence. Our own theory is that a certain very effective marketing
campaign of the 1980's, emphasizing "spring!" spurred this change
in America's gardening habits.
We remain convinced of the superior "take" of fall planted
plants and the incontrovertible fact that such plants have two
extra months head start or more over anything planted in spring.
During that two months conditions are prime for root growth yet the
plant does not have to place any new foliage in harm's way. The
plant begins to become established before leafing out and is that
much better able to handle next summer's heat and drought. So we're
waving the banner as we buy and plant, hoping to help others see
and cash in on the benefits.
Notice and correct rootbound plants in fall
Here's a rootbound (pot-bound) plant. This condition is
perhaps the biggest barrier to successful fall planting.
Ironically, such matted, restricted root systems are now more
common in fall because changes in our buying patterns demanded that
all plants be potted and ready to go by May.
We slice the bottom off any such matted root mass, as we've done
for the plant in the picture above. Then we loosen and spread the
remaining roots as we plant it. This gives the plant more drawing
power right away by substituting well-spaced root tips for
congested clumps. It can also mean the difference in the plant's
long-term well being. Pot bound plants are more likely to dry out
and die back over winter, and then to struggle for years. Some
never break out of that growth-restricting pattern.
Bring in our jade
trees, rosemary and other tender plants.
At least bring them closer to the house under the cover of the
porch roof. From there it will be easy to pull them indoors if a
freeze threatens, or tuck them against the house wall and cover
them against frost.
Why not just bring them indoors and leave them in, now? Because
we love to see it flower during winter and know the long
nights help make that happen. its branches are never so full of
blooms as when it's been out until late October.
We'll also take our rosemary up out of the ground where it's
Outdoors, its foliage grows most full and flavorful. Yet out
there in the sun it's nearly impossible to water its pot frequently
enough to meet its needs. So we un-pot and re-pot each year.
We'll give it some words of encouragement as we place it back in
its pot. During the next few weeks, still in full sun and thus full
of energy, but cool enough now that its water requirement drops,
it'll recover from any transplant stress.
Look sharp, cut out
next year's trouble
Keep a sharp eye as we cut down herbaceous plants, looking for
and staying ahead of problems such as that in the first question of
Fall leaves awe
Be as aware of the beauty as the problems. In much of the
eastern U.S. the fall show of leaf color is at least as reliable
and long lasting as spring bloom so we try not to miss it. We take
stock every day, and often gather leaves to send to friends in
places less fortunate! (One of our most awesome collections for
Janet's parents became a guide to help you select fall plants.
What's Coming Up 64.)
Fertilize, slow and
Try to spread the slow release fertilizers we've selected for
each garden before the leaves fall. We'd rather have it under than
on the leaves that will blanket the beds. Beneath leaves there's
more moisture and more microbial activity so the fertilizer will
begin to decompose and release its nutrients. Little by little,
nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and humus will leak, crumble and be
otherwise mixed into the soil. Fall rains will dissolve it and on
every day the soil is not frozen roots will absorb those
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