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Each spring...a gardening instinct, sure as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground.


FALLS ARRIVAL !!!

Did you know that September 22nd.....is the second and final time (the first is March 21) each year that day and night are of equal length at all points on the earth's surface. It is known as the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn.

This is the official astronomical beginning of fall for us above the equator, and the start of spring for everyone below the equator. With these longer nights and shorter days the sun seems to sweep across the globe's middle, on a three month journey toward the Tropic of Capricorn.

CATCH THE LEAVES...BEFORE THEY FALL

The shortening daylight hours of autumn initiates the "settling down" of trees for winter. What happens is a layer of cells starts to form at the base of each leaf stem. This layer gradually thickens and hardens, and eventually pushes the old leaves to the ground.

All the while this layer is forming, the process of photosynthesis is slowing down in the leaves. The green chlorophyll gradually disappears to reveal the hidden leaf pigments, that have always been there. Frost has nothing to do with fall foliage colors.

Weather does, to some extent determine the brilliance of the fall colors. If we have gotten plenty of rain through the summer, colors should be good. Cool nights and warm sunny days will encourage the colors to be sharp and brilliant.

DIG SUMMER-FLOWERING BULBS

If you live in any of the colder zones and planted tender summer-flowering bulbs this year, remember that they will not survive outdoors over winter. They must be dug up and stored either indoors or in a frost free location.

Some favorites among this group of bulbs include: caladiums, callas, cannas, dahlias, elephant ears, gladiolas, ismenes, montbretias, tigridias, tuberose, tuberous begonias and zephyranthes

Most of these bulbs can be left in the ground until they are touched with frost, blackening their foliage. Several such as: caladiums, cannas and elephant ears are recommended to be dug out before your first frost.

DO NOT FEED

Any new perennials, woody plants or evergreens you plant this fall, should not be given any fertilizer when you plant them. At this time of the year the plants should be concentrating on root development, and any fertilizers applied now might stimulate top growth instead.

Any new top growth that does start growing now is subject to winter kill, because the tender new growth has not had enough of a chance to harden off before the cold weather sets in. Plants "should not" be encouraged to make new growth in the fall.

You can however improve the soil without stimulating growth by adding peat moss and or well-rotted compost, as they are soil improvers and will not stimulate growth.



FALL - TO DO LIST
US ZONE 6

• After your 1st frost, dig up tender bulbs and tubers (dahlias, gladiolus, cannas, callas, elephant ears etc.) for drying off before storing away

• Clean up any frost-blackened annuals or perennials

• Autumn is the best time to plant Lilacs because they start growth very early in the spring

• Start bringing in your garden benches, patio furniture etc.

• Continue planting hardy spring bulbs, remember to add bone meal to the soil when planting

• You will have a healthier lawn if you keep it cut and not allow it to go through winter long

• Rake up any fallen leaves and put on the compost pile

• Fall is the best time of the year to apply fertilizer to established lawns


• Cut off daylily flower stalks and cut the foliage back to about 6 inches

• Now is the time to plant lilies, roses and evergreens

• Divide and reset your spring-flowering perennials that have finished flowering

• Finish planting new lawns and seed thin patches in established lawns

• It is safe to move deciduous trees and shrubs, when the leaves begin changing colors

• Thin your lily of the valley patch

• Be sure to stake and guy wire all newly planted shade trees

• Spray peach trees with fungicide to control peach leaf curl





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