Fall gardening tips

Fall gardening tips


SPRINGFIELD, IL—What is an Illinois Certified Nursery Professional (ICN Pro)? An ICN Pro is a professional horticulturist who is trained to serve the public in the best possible manner.

Following is a short list of fall gardening tips for October brought to you by an ICN Pro.

l Mulch! Mulch can act as an insulating blanket for plants. It is a good idea to apply mulch under your trees and shrubs. Mulch also works exceptionally well in perennial beds. The mulch will protect the crown of the plant from the freezing and thawing action that happens when temperatures fluctuate in the winter.

l Plant bulbs! There is nothing more beautiful and welcome in the spring than a group of colorful tulips or daffodils! Now is the time to plant these spring beauties. Also be sure to try a new bulb this year! There are many types of naturalizing bulbs like Snowdrop, Anemone, Snowflake, Siberian Squill, Glory of the Snow… and the list goes on. These bulbs and flowers are typically smaller than a tulip or a daffodil, but they are just as charming!

l Plant mums! Mums are the signature flowers of fall. They come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors. Mums are considered a “hardy” plant; however, they will benefit from a mulch. The mulch will help to protect them from the freezing and thawing in the upcoming winter months. Mums will also prefer a well-drained soil. Be careful not to place them in an area that stays wet, like by a downspout.

l Plant trees! Whether you would like to add a shade tree or a flowering tree to your yard, fall is a splendid time to do it! When you plant the tree, it will begin growing new roots almost immediately, and will continue growing those roots until the ground freezes in December. Then when the ground thaws in the spring, that tree will be all ready to grow!

l Landscape! Fall is a wonderful time to plant trees, and it is also a wonderful time to plant shrubs! If you have considered landscaping this year, but think you’ve waited too long, you’re actually just in time! Consult with your ICN Pro for fall landscaping suggestions.

l Icicle Pansies or winter-hardy pansies are a great way to give a fresh look to your annual beds. Icicle Pansies will bloom this fall, and then they will come back to bloom again next spring. It’s not too late to plant them!

l Plan for spring. If you’d like to update your landscape but aren’t quite sure where to start or what to do once you’ve started, fall is a great time to plan! Contact the ICN Pro at your local garden center for landscape design suggestions. They’ll be happy to help you, and then when spring comes along, you’ll be ready to get started.

l Hang out your birdfeeders and begin feeding. Your fine, feathered friends will need more food in months ahead. Now is the time to familiarize them with your yard and your feeders.

l Set out your squirrel feeders. Squirrels are very inquisitive animals and can be very entertaining to watch. Try setting out a feed box or a squirrel chair and watch your furry friends scurry about.

l Take down hummingbird feeders—hummingbirds need to be migrating now. It is rumored that they hitch a ride on the breast of a Canada goose. In order to encourage them to leave, it is advisable to take down your feeders.

l Bring your houseplants inside when the nighttime temperatures begin to slip into the low 40s. When you bring them in, watch for insects and diseases to develop. Oftentimes, if houseplants have been outside in the summer, when they are brought in, they lose some of their leaves. This is a normal reaction to the change in light.

l Lawn care—if you are going to treat your lawn with either fertilizers or weed killers, that should be done soon! Check with your local ICN Pro for timing in your area.

l Tree trimming, wrapping and staking—if you are planning to trim any of your shade or ornamental trees, it is recommended that you wait until the trees go dormant (after the leaves drop). Use caution if you are going to wrap your trees for the winter. There are only a few circumstances that require a tree to be wrapped—consult with an ICN Pro at your local garden center for wrapping recommendations. Generally, a new tree will not require staking. It is beneficial for a new tree to sway in the wind—it actually makes it stronger! However, if the need for staking should arise, make sure you stake it properly. Consult with your local ICN Pro or Certified Arborist for staking suggestions.

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