Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Yard And Garden


*Written by Skye Whitlock

 -- Fall Yard And Garden Prep -- 
 

Many people wait until spring to begin planting, but This Old House landscape contractor, Roger Cook, said, "Fall is the absolute best time to get things done, and it gives you a head start on spring."

Fall weather is cooler, making it much more enjoyable to be outside planting. With the right tools, such as a tiller, mini cultivator, aerator, shovel, and watering can or hose, you can easily plant a variety of foliage in your yard.

Here are a few things you can successfully plant this fall:

1. Turfgrass

Other than late summer, early autumn is the best time to plant new seed. Reseeding in the fall will lower the amount of weeds the seed has to compete with. The cooler weather also means the soil is not too wet for the seedbed. Reseeding in the fall also means the plant seed will grow slowly due to the cooler temperatures. But though it is cooler above the surface, there is actually a lot of growth going on beneath the surface.

Fall is also a great time to fix small areas that have grown bare. When filling in patches, make sure the seed has plenty of contact with the soil so it can fully germinate and mature. Aerating the soil before planting seed, with use of an aerator, can ensure the seed have enough soil contact.

One thing to keep in mind when planting new seed in the fall is that because there isn't a lot of growth going on, the bugs are going to be looking for fresh turf to munch on. The types and amount of bugs you will see depend on where you live. Be sure to check your freshly planted turf seeds to watch for bugs and monitor turf growth.

2. Shrubs and Trees

Come fall, you will probably see a lot of greenery at great sale prices. And most of the shrubs and trees you see on discounts are ready to be planted and will do rather well in the cooler weather.

Many people are not aware that the cooler temperatures of fall can protect the roots of the newly planted shrubs and trees and keep them from drying out. The roots will be able to stretch and grow deep down into the soil so that when spring rolls in the roots of your shrubs and trees are firm and healthy.
When planting late in the season, there are a few things to consider that will better the health of the trees and shrubs you are planting.
  • Try not to bother the plant. Just like newborn babies don't like to be disturbed, freshly planted trees and shrubs don't either. Be careful not to damage the roots while planting and once planted, avoid damage to the plant by avoiding any pruning. If you choose to use an aerator in the fall to help your turf grass in areas around your planted shrubs and trees, be careful not to add stress to the roots you just planted.

  • Don't over stimulate it. Try not to be too aggressive with the soil surrounding the plant. A small amount of compost can help enrich the soil, but try to avoid fertilizers until the weather warms up.

  • New plants are thirsty. To keep the roots from drying out in the cooler temperatures, be sure to regularly water the shrubs and trees recently planted.

  • Protect the plant from freezing. One way to protect the plants from too much exposure to the cold is to apply a layer of mulch to the surface. This acts as an insulator and protects the roots and plant from damage caused by freezing.
3. Spring Blooming Bulbs

Annuals and perennials can be planted early fall, before the first frost. Beating the frost is important because it gives the roots enough time to develop so the plant can mature properly. Sometimes bulbs don't sprout, to ensure you have bulbs that pop up plant several bulbs. After the bulbs are planted, apply a little mulch to trap in moisture, protect against cold temperatures, and to keep weed growth to a minimum. Be sure to water after planting to ensure the bulbs have enough moisture to develop.

4. Vegetables for Cooler Seasons

Depending on the area in which you live, you can plant cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radish, and other cool-season vegetables. Most of these vegetable plants can endure shorter periods of frost. To ensure the vegetable plants have enough time to mature before temperatures are too cold, it is best to plant them no later than early fall.

Taking advantage of the cooler weather to plant a variety of new plants and turf can save you a lot of time, effort, and money come spring. With the right tools like an aerator or tiller, you can easily prepare and enrich the soil so your foliage can develop and grow strong and healthy.



Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:

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