By Sandi Hillermann McDonald, Hillermann Nursery & Florist
Fall is almost here! Where did the summer go? The kids are back in school. The weather has been quite different this year compared to last year’s drought, heat, etc. It was a nice change considering normal summer weather for our area. I am sure you have heard the phrase “Fall is for Planting,” but do you know why we say this? Given the mild temperatures and generally adequate rainfall, the conditions are excellent for establishing new plantings. The result are plants that grow faster and bigger, and they bloom better. The plant’s root systems get a second growing season before they have to manage our hot, dry summers. Roots will continue to grow until freezing of the ground stops them.
Transform the entrance to your home into a welcoming, colorful fall display with potted mums, cabbage and kale, cornstalks, ornamental grasses, an assortment of pumpkins and squash, and maybe a scarecrow set on a hay bale.
Don’t forget spring flowering bulbs. Now is the time to get the best selection. You have until the middle of December to get them planted. Fall bulb varieties include Tulips, Hyacinths, Daffodils and Crocus to name a few
September is THE lawn renovation month. Even though this year’s wetter summer was not as harsh on our lawns, now is the time to consider renovation and aeration. Aeration helps control thatch, improves the soil structure, helps create growth pockets for new roots, and opens the way for water and fertilizer to get to the roots of your lawn. Aeration is the process of removing thousands of small cores of soil 1” to 3” in length from your lawn. These cores “melt” back into the lawn after a few rainfalls. The holes in the soil created by aeration make perfect pockets for catching fertilizer and water. Turf roots naturally grow toward these holes and thicken in the process. Aeration holes also relieve pressure from compacted soils, letting more oxygen and water move into the root zone of your lawn.
Once aeration is done, it is time to over seed your lawn. Fescue lawn mixes tolerate heat, drought and traffic from kids and pets better. After seeding, top dress with a starter type fertilizer, and you are ready to enjoy a beautiful green lawn for fall and spring!
The fall of the year is perfect timing for tree planting. You should give some thought to choosing varieties for that special spot. Sun exposure, soil moisture, and the available growth space needs to be assessed to help with tree selection. So, plant a tree this fall. You will help the environment, lower your electric bills, and enhance your property value.
Here are a few other quick tips for this month. Begin to adapt your houseplants for winter indoors. Check for pests and treat if necessary. Houseplants should be brought indoors at least one month before the heat is normally turned on. Sow fall vegetable crops through mid September. Harvest herbs now to freeze or dry for winter.
See you in the Garden……
Sandi Hillermann McDonald