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Seasonal Tips:  Tips for Fall

Grab that rake and get busy! But forget about bagging and dragging those leaves out to the curb; instead, start a leaf pile. Those leaves may look like brown refuse to some, but gardeners everywhere know better. Just raked, they make great mulch for young perennials, overwintering annuals, and bulbs. Pile them up behind the hedge and let them slowly decompose over time. Next spring, take a look at the bottom of the pile. You’ll find it’s turned to dark brown leaf mold, an excellent source of organic matter for garden beds.

Did your lawn live up to your expectations this year? If not, now’s the time to patch, weed, aerate, dethatch, and reseed all kinds of turfgrass. Use runners trimmed along the sidewalk, plugs, or pieces of sod to patch bare areas. Timely applications of lawn herbicides this fall can prevent many weeds next spring. Talk to your Growise Center for recommendations specific to your area. Lawns occasionally benefit from aeration or dethatching. Aerating increases the oxygen available to roots and dethatching reduces competition for water and fertilizer by removing the thatch that can trap both. Reseeding in fall has two advantages: ideal conditions to sprout the seed and then grow roots over the winter.

Recipe for happy houseplants: First, move the plants into less sunlight as fall approaches. Then, give them a break from fertilizer and water less often, too. Clean leaves with soapy water or rubbing alcohol to be sure no insects move indoors with them. Finally, don't wait until the winds howl and the temperature borders freezing before you bring them inside.

Autumn brings the best time for planting trees. Nature turns energies to root growth; that lets the trees get well established on their own roots before their tops start growing next spring. Dig a hole just deeper and twice as wide as the container your tree came in, then mix the native soil with that in the container. Plant the tree at the same depth it has been growing and use the mixed soil to fill in the hole. Leave a shallow well around the edge of the planting site for easy irrigation. Water in with root stimulator fertilizer, and mulch right away.



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