Gene’s Fall Tips

Bring your Tender Tropicals Indoors

Oct. 21, 2013

Early frost warnings may be heard at this time of the year. Make sure that any tender “tropicals” like hibiscus, gardenia or mandevilla vine plants that are still outdoors and are intended to ride out the winter indoors, are brought inside soon. Make sure that they are first treated with houseplant-safe pesticides to prevent bringing pests indoors and you are using a product that is safe for both your plants and your interior environment.

Why to Hold Off on Pruning

Oct. 21, 2013

The pruning back of plants in the fall should be deferred to spring. Horticulturists will advise the fall is not best time to expose reduced-foliage plants when one does not know what kind of winter lies ahead. Also, plants that are evergreen, both conifers and broadleafed trees and shrubs, retain their green foliage through winter for a purpose. The plants continue to use their green needles and leaves to conduct photosynthesis through this period when deciduous plants are dormant.

Deciphering the New Fertilizing Law

Oct. 21, 2013

If you are applying a fertilizer to a lawn in Maryland this fall, you must do it before November 15th. The Fertilizer Use Act of 2011 was signed into law by Governor O’Malley in January of that year. Its implementation date was delayed two year and law went into affect on October 1, 2013. A provision of this law states that no fertilizer may be applied to lawns in Maryland during the period November 15 to March 1st. This law only applies to the application of fertilizer to lawns, and does not apply to the application of fertilizer to plants in other areas of the landscape. The moratorium on fertilizing lawns during this time of the year is that lawn will not be taking up fertilizers since their growth and nutrient needs will be at a minimum. Unused fertilizer nutrients that are not taken up are likely to find their way from the lawn to the local watershed arteries and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.

Why Right NOW is Ideal for Planting

Oct. 16, 2013

Finally, the rains have stopped and the forecast is for mostly sunny for the next few weeks!  The ground is now soft to dig and it is a great time to plant pansies and other fall annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and lawns.  The planting weather will be great, since the soil will be warm enough to start seeds and encourage root growth on all newly-planted nursery stock.  If you still need to plant or reseed a lawn, this should be your last chance if you want the seed to come up next year. Fall is still a great time to be in the garden!