Saturday, September 26, 2009

Planning Planting Clean-up Mulching On October

By Kent Higgins

Of course the gardener cannot just sit and watch fall color come and go. This is a month for action - harvesting, planning, planting, clean-up, mulching and watering. Jobs done this fall will make spring tasks small. So, while the weather is pleasant for outdoor work, put on the garden harness and get busy.

Fall color of shrubs and trees is Nature's cue for us to begin fall planting, since they have begun to close their factories and will soon be practically dormant. No need to delay planting until all the leaves have fallen. In fact, careful, early October planting of trees and shrubs in full leaf is usually very satisfactory. Handle the plants as quickly as possible and keep well watered after planting. Warm soil with plenty of moisture makes a favorable condition for the production of new roots before winter sets in. Plants which have thus become well established in the fall are certainly ahead of those which are planted the following spring. Now is a good time to select those with bright, attractive fall colors.

If you are contemplating planting a mandevilla vine plant or shrubbery border this fall, examine the soil first. If it is a heavy clay that has been excavated for the basement and then packed down by the grading caterpillar, perhaps the planting of mandevilla vine plant should be postponed until spring. Spade the bed now and leave it in a rough condition in order that Jack Frost can do his highly specialized job of breaking up this heavy clay soil during the winter months. In fact Old Jack is just about the only one who can prepare these brick-like soils for shrubbery planting. Add some rotted manure in the spring, level the bed and plant the shrubs.

Many hardy perennial flowers can still be successfully transplanted - but the sooner the, better in order that they may be able to make a few new roots, become settled in their new homes, and can better withstand destructive heaving action resulting from the combined forces of Jack Frost and Old Sol. Small seedlings or rooted cuttings are usually best wintered over in a coldframe and transplanted in the spring. Peonies, irises, hollyhocks, oriental poppies, balloon flowers, phlox, bleeding hearts and madonna lilies top the list for fall transplanting.

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