26September 7, 2011

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, our minds tell us that summer is over. Our minds may also think that the gardening season is over. However, warm fall weather makes for some perfect planting weather. Fall is a perfect time to seed a new lawn or to patch up those bare spots that may have shown up during the summer. Fall is also an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs. Occasional rainy days, warm soil and sunny yet not too warm days makes it easy for trees and shrubs to get a root system out into the soil. The same goes for planting perennials. Fall is a good time to divide and re-plant your perennials. If you enjoy seeing tulip and daffodil flowers in the spring, fall is the only time of the year that these bulbs can be planted if you want flowers in the spring. There are many vegetables that you can plant from seed that will give you a fall crop of vegetables. Many years ago, the gardening industry ran an advertising campaign called “ Fall is for Planting”. No truer words were spoken. Your opportunity to plant is not unlimited. Lawns need to be in by the end of September. Some vegetables need a certain number of days to grow before a hard frost. I know that there are so many things to do in the fall, yet if you want to do some gardening, there is no time like the present.

During the last week, many customers have come into the store with leaves from trees. The outside edges of the leaves have brown or black margins. The discoloration may extend to parts of the interior of the leaf. The discoloration is not a fungus disease. What appears to be going on is that the trees are suffering the effects of drought. During the summer of 2010, we had a very dry summer. Dry soil extended deep into the soil. This dry soil can lead to damage to the roots of trees and shrubs. It takes time for this damage to the roots to be corrected. During this spring we had a lot of cloudy days and even some days with rain. There was moisture in the soil, but it may not have been enough to allow new roots to grow back to their pre drought state. During July, we had very dry weather. The leaves were out on the trees, but damaged roots could not draw up enough water to supply the leaves with all the water that was needed during the heat of summer. The result was the drying out of the leaves.

At this late part of the season, the leaves may prematurely drop. This isn’t a big deal. The trees should put out new leaves in the spring. You can help to heal those damaged roots by fertilizing your trees with superphosphate this fall. This fertilizer will help to stimulate new root growth during the cool soil temperatures of late fall and early spring.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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