Fall Garden Checklist

As the trees begin to turn, the weather turns cold, and the sun sets earlier each evening, gardeners sometimes forget there is still much to do before the snow begins flying.

First, this is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Before you begin, make sure to choose a site where the tree will have plenty of room for both its roots and its height to grow to maturity. To plant, dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Place the tree in the hole at the same depth it was growing before and fill half the hole with garden soil or compost.  Then, fill in the remaining soil and water thoroughly. 

Second, now is the time for bulbs. Bulbs need to be planted any time before the soil begins to freeze. 

Third, prepare the soil for spring planting. This may seem odd, but creating healthy soil will create a successful garden. Soil PH is key. There are DIY soil test kits one can buy and use to determine the PH level. Use Lime or acidifier to raise or lower the PH accordingly. 

Four, compost! Instead of bagging up the leaves you have spent hours raking, use them in your compost pile.  If you don’t have a compost pile already, start one! 

Outdoor To-Dos

 We've reached that point in the summer when plants may not look quite as happy as they did early in the spring.  If you are having any concerns about your plants, whether mature or newly planted, we are always happy to help. first and foremost, i am seeing a lot of issues as a result of the drought. i have been getting several questions regarding the fact that many plants  are just not looking good.  Water is the single most important factor regarding whether a plant will survive or not. all plants, especially those newly planted, need water.  even though we have had recent rain, we are still in a drought pattern. this pattern, along with the 90 degree days and it is no wonder many plants are looking a little bit worse fro wear. it is extremely important to be watering properly and regularly. in fact, you may need to water daily, depending on type of plant, location, and current weather conditions. plants in containers will definitely need daily watering. being observant is the first step. watch for dull looking or droopy leaves. by the time the plant is wilted, it has become extremely dry and may have suffered tissue damage. please remember that lawn sprinkler systems  will not provide adequate water for flowers , shrubs, or trees. The most effective option is to use soaker hoses or a sprinkler connected to your garden hose. be sure t water deeply enough to soak all the way through the roots to the soil beneath.  

    If your plants are looking like they need a little something, your first thought may be to feed them.  Although annuals do like regular feedings with a water soluble such as Espoma's Organic Super Bloom Booster or Miracle Gro, it is best to not feed when we are having these hot, dry conditions.  Trees and shrubs should not be fertilized now so that they have time to harden off for the winter.  You can feed them in late October or early November and then again next spring when new growth begins emerging. 

     They're back!  Those nasty Japanese Beetles have been making their presence known.   If you've ever been invaded you know that they can certainly cause a lot of damage very quickly.  While there are some differing opinions on whether it's better to use sprays or traps, I have found that when used properly both can be effective.  Traps are best used far away from plantings.  If you property backs up to woods or fields, place your traps there.  Sprays should only be used if you are seeing the beetles.  If you have lacy looking leaves, but don't see any beetles,they have already moved on and spraying is not necessary.   Along with Japanese Beetles, the humidity is causing some fungal issues such as leaf spots and powdery mildew.  Diseases occur when the disease is present and the conditions are right.  Some diseases have specific cycles so it is important to identify what you have before spraying.  Timing is everything, so please give me a call if you have any questions.

     Remember to always follow label directions and use sprays only when needed.  

Winter Burn

WINTER BURN on evergreens such as pine, spruce, arborvitae, junipers, holly and boxwood is a common occurrence late winter and early spring. It is characterized by brown or bronze colored needles or leaves. Before you pull your plants out, please be aware that this will usually clear up once temperatures moderate and growth begins. One way to determine if it’s simply winter burn and not more serious is to look for the beginning buds along the branches. The buds should be soft and green inside if pulled apart. Another test is to gently scrape a small area of bark on a couple of different branches. Again, you should find green underneath. If you’re unable to find any green, please give us a call so we can advise you on what steps to take next