Fall Feeding – Shrubs & Plants
Like grass lawns in last month’s timely tip, shrubs and trees are also in need of nutrients in the fall of the year. Leaves of shrubs and trees need feeding in order to restore their health and vigor after enduring the stresses of spring and the heat of summer. These green leaves need nutrients at this time of year to continue to manufacture sugar sap, which will soon be converted into complex carbohydrates called starches that will to be stored in the roots over the winter as a future energy source. This energy source is what promotes the growth of roots, new leaves, flowers and branches in the spring.
Fertilizers should be applied in early fall, when the leaves on deciduous shrubs and trees (plants that lose all their leaves in the fall and are dormant through winter) are still green and active in producing sugar. Evergreen coniferous and broadleaf shrubs and trees should be fed in late spring. Feeding evergreen plants too early in the fall can stimulate new growth on plants that retain their leaves year-round. This new growth will be too tender to tolerate the frosts that come in late fall. Late fall feeding will be at a time when it is too cool to stimulate new growth and evergreen plants will actively take in fertilizer through early winter.
It’s time again to think about planting cool-season vegetables to take over for your summer tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, squash and melons. These are edibles that you may have grown in early spring, such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts, which died back when summer heat had arrived.
Seeds for transplants should be started in August and direct seeding should begin in early September. These crops love the cold and some, such as the cabbage, kale, collards and Brussels sprouts will go through the frosts of late fall and come out tasting even sweeter. You can also plant root vegetables, such as beets and turnips at this time.
We have already received some cool-season vegetable transplants and more will be coming for later fall planting.
The Perfect Indoor Container Garden
You may have experienced problems growing indoor container gardens, especially those dish gardens that contain many different houseplants. Pretty as they may be, they are difficult to keep alive, given many are planted with houseplants that may look great, but have incompatible environmental needs when planted together. To make matters worse, the dish container itself has no drain hole, which means watering can be very tricky since drainage of excess water is non-existent.
The good news is that there are types of planted indoor dish gardens that are populated with special plants that are widely varied in their leaf and flower colors, and their forms range from simple to wildly exotic. And furthermore, they all like the same environmental conditions while their nutrient and water needs are almost nil. I am speaking of indoor gardens planted with cacti and succulents.
We have a large and varied selection of many cacti and succulent species and varieties, in all sizes from 2-inch pots to large specimens. You can also choose from a wide assortment of pots in which to plant them. We also have cacti gardens, already planted up, to grace your home or office, or to give to a student going off to college – the perfect little living plant garden for a dorm room.
Late Summer Lawn Preparation
The summer season is still with us, but as the days start getting shorter, we’re reminded that fall is not all that far off. Sooner than we think, it will be time to ready our lawns for their winter dormancy. Proper care in the coming weeks and months will assure a healthy and beautiful awakening next spring. Here are some things you should be thinking about very soon…
First, late summer is the time to kill and remove lawn weeds from your existing lawn, particularly if you plan to reseed your existing lawn or plant or sod a new lawn this fall.
Neither grass seed nor sod can root in soil that has not been cleared of physical obstructions such as dead grass, debris and growing weeds. It takes time for herbicides to kill weeds and for the dead weeds to be cleared. This is why August is an excellent time to clear out the weeds in time to plant your seed or sod in September.
By September, you should be thinking about applying fertilizer to your lawn. Late summer fertilization is essential for restoring your lawn’s condition after a long spring/summer growing season. Getting the lawn back to health before winter is very important.
This feeding also encourages the restored lawn to create and build up large amounts of sugar which they then convert to concentrated carbohydrates stored in the roots. This stored energy will make your lawn really “take off” in the spring.
If you have any questions about how to prepare your lawn for fall or need some help with planting a new one, please ask a staff member in our Garden Supply department. You’ll find that they are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about lawn care. And they love sharing what they know!
Preparing your lawn for fall seeding
Since fall is the best time to start a new lawn or reseed your existing one, prepping the lawn early is very important to the final results of all your efforts. One very important task is to get rid of the weeds prior to preparing garden beds and lawns for reseeding or new plantings. Weeds take time to die, and there are required wait times after applying weed killers before seed can be applied to treated areas. So, if you want to seed your lawn in September, the eradication of existing lawn weeds in August is essential!
Summer Watering Tips
Well, summer and the higher temperatures that normally come with it are now officially here. Lawns and gardens will really feel the heat over the next couple of months, and possibly the lack of regular rainfall amounts that often mark summertime in the mid-Atlantic.
Like us, plants will be consuming water in larger amounts. It will likely be necessary for you to supply additional water to these plants when it is needed in order to keep them healthy and beautiful. Follow these watering tips to help your plants make it through this stressful time.
1. Water all outdoor plants and grass lawns (except for plants in containers), with the idea of watering deeply and infrequently. What I mean by this is to apply water to in-ground plant roots slowly, for a period of time that allows that water to travel down deep, passing below the bottom of the plant’s roots zone. Stop watering for a while to allow the top of the soil/mulch layer to turn dry. This action causes a “wicking up” of that deep water toward the surface, providing a second watering from bottom to top. Watering this way will encourage deeper-growing roots and more drought-resistance in your plants.
2. Apply and maintain a 2-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil surround the plants’ root area. This mulch layer drastically slows down the evaporation of soil water, helping to maintain an adequate level of moisture in the soil. Before watering again, check the moisture level of the soil under the mulch layer. Watering is only necessary if the soil beneath the mulch is dry, not moist or wet..
3. The very best time to apply water to lawns and landscape plants is in the early morning, before 10:00 am. Early watering allows plants to take up the maximum amount of water in the coolest part of the day and prepares them to better handle the higher temperatures to come.
4. Keep water off of leaves, particularly during the heat of the day. Water on leaves can cause foliage burns from the sunlight and heat magnified through the water drops.