Fall has arrived and while most plants are starting to slow down in preparation for winter, there are still many projects for the home gardener.
October is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and vines. For more information on transplanting trees and shrubs see MSU publication 965 Transplanting Trees & Shrubs in the Landscape.
October is also the time to plant hardy annuals and perennials such as pansy, English daisy, Foxglove, Black-Eyed Susans, Purple Cone-Flower and Larkspur. The garden centers are filled with Chrysanthemums, be sure to get yours now and add some fall color to your landscape or put them in pots to decorate your front door. As the temperatures continue to drop start digging up your tender tubers and roots such as Cannas, Dahlias, Caladiums, and Elephant Ears. The best time to dig up these tubers and roots is after the first frost burns the foliage of these plants. Be sure to store your tubers and roots in a dry/dark space until next spring. For more information on tubers, roots, and other bulbs see MSU publication P1736 Planting and Care of Bulbs, Corms, Rhizomes, and Roots.
This and That
This is nice indoor gardening in the run up to Halloween. Ask each of the children to decorate their own small terracotta pot with a ghostly face of their choice. Once the paint has dried, place some moist compost inside the pot and sow some cress seeds. Place on a window sill and water carefully. After a few days your spooky heads will grow hair, then on halloween you can create a scary windowsill display.
If you live in an area with an abundance of pine trees you are fortunate to have a ready resource for nature’s mulch. Pine needles begin to fall before autumn leaves. Rake needles while they are still free of leaves, and then set them aside until all the leaves have fallen. Top-dress beds with clean needles and your garden will appear tidy all winter long.
This is the season when songbirds are migrating. If your landscape is lacking in plants that provide a bird food source, that’s ok, you can just put out a feeder, some birdseed, get yourself a bird identification book and set back to watch the show! As you and your family are quietly observing the birds you might want to do some planning on how you can make your landscape more attractive for wildlife by including plants that provide a year round source of food or shelter. Some of these would be holly, sumac, sweet bay magnolia, elderberry, strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus), coral honeysuckle, dogwood, or eastern red cedar. Fall is the time to plant these wildlife plants, so go shopping!
Don’t shear hedges now. It is too late. You’ll have brown-edged leaves all winter, and you may spark tender new growth that could be killed by frost. If there are a few errant branches, cut them out by hand. Wait until early spring to do any major shaping. Type your paragraph here.
Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'
Denise Duvic, MG
Tips For The Month