Six areas to pay attention to in the autumn

Fall is an excellent time to plant just about anything. You can plant new shrubs and trees, perennials, vegetables, lawns and container plants this time of year and they will get established in the fall and take off like a rocket come spring. Regardless of what you are planting, be sure to pre-soak the planting hole before you plant. The little bit of rain we have had is hardly enough to wet the ground. Here is a list of some chores to consider this month.

Lawns: This is the consummate month to plant a new lawn or resurrect an existing one. Aerate, dethatch, reseed or start all over but get it done this month. If you are unsure as to how to proceed than consider coming to our lawn care class Sept. 17.

Roses: Fertilize and prune this month. (EB Stone Organic Rose and Flower Food is my favorite.) This is mildew season and I have found it is helpful to hose off roses first thing in the morning. Keep the ground around roses clean as well. For extra protection apply a fungicide like Bonide Rose Drench to the soil around the base of the rose — no spraying required. For organic gardeners try Neem oil.

Perennials: We have lots of late blooming perennials in stock and it’s a great time to plug up a few holes in the garden. This is also the ideal time to dig and divide large clumps of perennials like day lilies and irises. Share the extras with a neighbor. Always add some fertilizer and compost when you are planting (I know, I sound like a broken record). Liquinox Start is also helpful during transplant time and it is cheap insurance.

Bulbs: Believe it or not, now is the perfect time to plant spring bloomers like tulips, daffodils, crocus and hyacinths. There are also many other fine specialty and minor perennial bulbs available, most of which will naturalize and never have to be dug again. Buy them early while the selection is at its best and then don’t forget to plant them.

Veggies: I just tore out my beans and zucchini and have already planted some peas, broccoli, lettuce, beets and garlic. When planting fall veggies, be sure and replenish the soil with EB Stone compost and organic fertilizer (there’s that broken record again). Consider constructing a cloche (this is just a fancy word for a temporary greenhouse) to protect your veggies from a hard freeze. Row cover fabric will work, too. If you want to grow garlic then fall is the absolute best time to plant it.

Containers: In addition to winter pansies, dusty miller and flowering cabbage and kale, there are a huge variety of plants that are appropriate for late summer planting into containers. Herbs, grasses, evergreen perennials and small conifers are all finding their way into beautiful winter containers. Think of using foliage and texture rather than just flowers and don’t forget to stuff a few bulbs underneath the plants while you are at it. Containers planted in September will look fabulous all the way into April or May.

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville;

Upcoming class

Sunnyside Nursery will offer a class on ornamental grasses and ways to incorporate them into your landscape at 10 a.m. Sept. 10.

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