Planting in the Fall
“Fall is for planting” is a phrase that was being promoted hundreds of years ago, when I started in this business. In those days yard maintenance was primarily a spring-thing for homeowners. Fall was for football, school-openings, and putting the lawn and gardening equipment away for the winter. Everyone was tired of working in their yards. But, in truth, the fall is the most important season of the year for all planting – lawns and landscapes. With the exception of annuals (flowers and vegetables), fall planting is better than spring planting. Transplanting, the digging and replanting of trees and shrubs, must wait for winter dormancy next month before roots are disturbed.
Right now, you should plant trees and shrubs already out of the ground in pots, perennials, fall-blooming mums and asters so that you can enjoy them for the remainder of the fall. You should remove Annuals, which are effectively done, and replace them with fall-blooming mums, asters and other fall plants. And after you’ve filled your beds with lovely fall flowers and new perennials and shrubs, scarify the old, crusty mulch, remove all weeds that have crept in over the summer, and be sure to mulch them well. Newly planted perennials, shrubs and trees need a 3-4” thick layer of mulch to protect their tender roots and prevent heaving over the winter months.
Dormant Feeding – When To Start?
A common question we get is “When do we start feeding Dormant Trees, Shrubs, Perennials and Other Desirable Landscape Plantings?” The short answer is NOT YET. The key word for fall feeding of all landscape plantings is DORMANT. In September, deciduous and evergreen plants are still in their active growth phase. Feed them now and you’ll stimulate new growth, which will not have time to harden off before winter. Wait until deciduous plants (trees and shrubs alike that shed their leaves for winter) are actively turning fall colors and dropping leaves. Then you are free to apply your fall DORMANT fertilizer.
Animals in the Yard
The deer and the rabbits have been active all summer; they’ve become a year-round repellant challenge for all of us, but now, as the foliage falls from deciduous plants and the sources of nutrition become very scarce for these “friends in nature”. This puts our our valuable trees and shrubs at risk for feeding damage. Lawn Depot sells many types of liquid and granular repellent products and barrier plant protectors that will help you keep these beautiful pests at bay. I think the appropriate term here would be: NIMBY (not in my back yard).
Feeding the Birds
The bird “illness” that was seen throughout most of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South, has significantly subsided. In mid-August the PA Game Commission lifted the recommendation to stop feeding birds. While we still don’t fully know the cause, it is once again safe to put our bird feeders back out…and just in time. Reestablishing your feeders will once again let your backyard friends know that they have a reliable food source now that their natural food sources are dwindling. The Lawn Depot Garden center has a wide variety of birdfeed, suet and feeders for your choosing.
Again, we hope all of you have weathered the storm and are moving forward again. We look forward to seeing you soon and often this fall, and hope that we’ll all enjoy excellent weather from now on through the end of the year.