Why Natorps

 

Fall Landscape Tips

Fall Color & Winter Interest

Fall Flowers

Fall Gardening Checklist

Fall is for Planting

Fall Leaves

Fall Tree Feeding

 




Which Shrubs & Trees are Good for Fall Color & Winter Interest?

The end of summer does not have to be the end of color in your landscape. Choosing plants for their fall color, persistent flowers, and ornamental berries will keep your yard attractive well after the first frost. Many trees and shrubs produce brilliantly colored foliage in autumn.

Why do the leaves change color? As temperatures drop, and days shorten in the fall, plants show off their yellow, orange and red pigments. These colors have been present in the leaves all along, but were masked by green pigments during the growing season.

In addition to fall color many trees and shrubs can provide Fall and Winter interest through their fruit and flowers. Several trees and shrubs also have interesting bark and silhouettes throughout the Winter months.
Shrubs with good Fall Color
Deciduous azaleas: bronze, orange-red
P.J.M. rhododendron: bronze
Sumac: orange-red
Chokeberry: red/purple
Enkianthus: yellow, orange, and red
Burning Bush: red
Forsythia: purple
Fothergilla: yellow, orange, and red
Witchhazel: golden yellow
Virginia Sweetspire: reddish purple
Bayberry: bronze
Spireas: orange-red or purple
Viburnums: orange-red
Trees with good Fall Color
Red Maples: orange-red
Sugar Maple: gold, yellow, red, and orange
Silver Maples: yellow
European Alder: yellow
Ashes: yellow, orange, or purple
Ginkgo: yellow-gold
Sweetgum: gold-bronze and red
Tulip Tree: bright yellow
Dawn Redwood: apricot-gold
Oaks: yellow or red
Sourwood: yellow, orange, and red
Bald Cypress: orange
Linden: yellow
Zelkova: bronze-red
Serviceberry: yellow and orange
Redbud: yellow
Tupelo: yellow, orange, and purple
Katsura: apricot-orange
Flowering Dogwoods: red
Hawthorn: coppery-red
Flowering Pears: maroon and red
Hornbeam: yellow
Tschononski Crab: orange, red, and yellow
Plants grown for their fruit or Fall flowers
Evergreen Hollies: red or yellow berries
Winterberry Hollies: red berries
Pyracantha: orange berries
Chokeberry: red or black berries
Oakleaf Hydrangea: persistent flowers
Bayberry: silver berries
Buckthorn: black berries
Viburnums: black, blue, or red berries
Hawthorn: red or orange berries
Flowering Crabapples: yellow or red fruit
Ornamental Grasses: persistent foliage and seed heads
Plants with interesting Bark
Redtwig Dogwood
Yellowtwig Dogwood
River Birch
Paper Bark Maple
Beech
Oakleaf Hydrangea
Sycamore
Amur Maple
Plants with interesting Winter silhouettes
Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
Weeping Cherry
Sargent Crabapple
Weeping Pines
Japanese Maples
Corkscrew Willow
Red Jade Crabapple

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What Flowers Do Well in the Fall?

Garden Mums
Garden mums are one of the most spectacular blooming plants for fall. They come in a large selection of colors and varieties. Mums may be planted anytime from spring through fall. Garden mums grow best in areas receiving full sun for a half day or more. Mums planted in the spring or those that have wintered over should be pinched back monthly to keep them to a height of 12". Make the final pinch no later than July 15. Fertilize with a high phosphorus formula from May 1 until August 15. To improve winter hardiness, mulch mums after the soil has frozen in late December or early January.
Pansies
Fall is a great time to plant pansies. Significant improvements have been made over the last few years. If well established in the fall, pansies will not only provide fall color, but will winter over and be ready to burst into bloom first thing in the spring.Their color will brighten the garden well into summer. Pansies are best suited to sunny or partially shaded locations. Fertilize on a regular basis during the growing season. Some winter protection may be necessary, such as a light mulch applied after the soil has frozen in mid winter.
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
These interesting plants resemble their edible cousins but these are really a feast for the eye. Both ornamental cabbage and kale can be planted in spring or fall in a location that receives a half day or more of full sun. As the autumn weather grows cooler, the leaf colors intensify, making these plants a vibrant companion planting for garden mums and evergreens.
Hardy Asters
Hardy Asters are easy to grow perennials that can be planted in spring or fall. They vary in color from purple to pink to white. Varieties of asters differ in blooming heights. They will add color to your garden from late summer well into fall. These native American plants require a location that will provide 6 hours or more full sun a day. Use a regular perennial fertilizer applied according to label directions from May 1 until mid August.
Planting Fall Flowers
- The root structure of any plant grown in a pot has been restricted by the shape of the container. Once out of the pot, you must loosen the roots all the way around, even on the bottom.
- Condition the soil where you intend to plant with peat moss, compost, or cow manure. Mix soil conditioner at a rate of one part conditioner to two parts soil, always using the soil you removed from the hole.
- Dig the planting hole twice as wide as the diameter of the root system and just slightly shallower than the height of the root system.
- Water plants well immediately after planting and follow up with further watering as needed. You will need to feel the soil to see if your plant needs water.
- We recommend a plant starter fertilizer with Vitamin B1 for the first few feedings. After your new plants are established, you may use a fertilizer formulated for blossoming.
- Apply mulch as desired to minimize weeds, maintain soil moisture and to keep the soil cool. Mulch should never be more than 2" thick and should be kept clear of the base of the plant to encourage good air circulation.

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What is In a Good Fall Gardening Checklist?

   As summer ends, and the regular gardening season begins to wind down, there are timely garden chores that need to be done in your yard and garden.  At the top is providing good soil moisture for your larger trees and evergreens, landscape shrubs, perennials and lawn, as they go into the fall and winter.  If your yard receives less than 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, you need to supplement.  Good moisture in the soil as well as in the plants is a very important part of how well your plants will make it through the winter and into next spring.  And that means watering until the ground freezes.
   Here is that fall checklist.  Hope it helps keep you on pace, as this season winds down.

Fall Checklist:
___Late August and early September is the best time for core aerating, seeding, and applying a starter fertilizer to your new seed, applying the first fall feeding of the lawn, and if needed, total lawn renovation.  Timing for feeding and core aerating can continue on into October if needed.
___Plant fall colors such as mums, asters, Montauk daisies, pansies, cold hardy annuals, ornamental grasses, late - blooming perennials, ornamental cabbage and kale, etc.  Change out the summer annuals in your containers for these fall bloomers.
___Dig and divide most spring and early summer flowering perennials as needed.  Late summer is the time for iris and peonies.
___Bring tropical plants that have been outside all summer, indoors, before night temperatures reach mid 50's.  Acclimate them in the shade for 10 days.  Then, be sure to inspect and treat for insects and other critter before bringing them indoors.
___Apply Preen in the fall to help prevent winter annuals from germinating (chickweed, henbit, purslane).
___Continue to remove all dead foliage from perennials and clean up left over annuals and veggie plants.  Cut them off and leave the roots.  They will break down and add organic matter back to the soil.  Place disease free dead foliage in the compost pile.
___Start a compost pile; it does not take much space.  Today's yard debris can become tomorrow's garden gold as a soil amendment.  Grass clippings, finely ground leaves, small sticks, vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, spent flowers and foliage, etc, can all be added to the compost pile.
___Clean up areas around fruiting trees and plants to get rid of fallen fruits, diseased leaves and branches, etc.
___Start (or pot from outdoors) herbs for growing indoors over the winter.
___Keep those leaves from accumulating on the lawn, especially newly seeded lawns.  In mature lawns, feel free to return some of those leaves back to the soil by mowing them into finer pieces.  Grass clippings and finely ground leaves actually creates thin layer composting right there in the turf!
___Check for cracks and crevices, torn or loose screens, anywhere that winter invading insects can get into the house, and seal those up!  For added protection, create an insect barrier around the foundation with an insecticide.
___Cover water gardens with nylon netting to keep leaves and debris out.
___Keep planting trees and shrubs.  As long as the soil is workable and the weather is good, you can plant all through the rest of the year.  Fall is thee best time for planting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, lawns, etc.
___Protect younger trees from deer damage (bucks rubbing) with trunk protectors.
___Protect deer browse susceptible plants with DeerScram / Liquid Fence.
___Transplant trees and shrubs and perennials that need to be moved in the yard.
___Expect your evergreens to shed inner needled during the fall.  It’s a normal process.
___Plant spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, anemones, alliums, etc.  Plant several in pots for bringing indoors early next spring.  October is the best time for planting spring bulbs.
___Fall is the best time to go after those broadleaf weeds in the landscape and lawns. Using a weed killer in the fall works better as the weeds are taking in nutrients and storing them in their roots for winter, so they take in the weed killer as well.
___Dig, clean and store summer bulbs (cannas, tuberous begonias, gladiolas, caladiums, etc.) in a cool dark place for replanting next year.  Let the light early frosts kill the tops, then dig and store away.
___Keep mowing the lawn on a regular basis (change directions each time you mow) until the lawn has stopped growing.  For the last 2-3 cuts, lower your mower one notch.  When the lawn has stopped growing for the season, mow it one last time, and then feed with a high N fertilizer.  Then, go have your mower serviced!
___Gather frost affected fruits and veggies before Jack Frost takes them out!
___Till the garden this fall.  Exposed soils freeze and thaw over the winter and helps to break up that heavy soil.  Add a layer of compost, pine soil conditioner, or finely ground leaves and grass clippings before you till.
___Feed the trees in late fall.  Vertical mulching or soil injection with a Ross Root feeder works great. 
___Feed the birds, and clean your feeders if it has not been done recently.  Make sure your birds have a source of water over the winter, as well as landscaping for the birds, including evergreens, plants with seeds or berries, and thicker growing shrubs.
___Have your soil tested.  Many adjustments can be made this fall and early next spring.
___Clean, oil and properly store all garden tools when the season is over.  Also, drain and coil all hoses and store where they will not freeze.  Properly store all chemicals to keep them from freezing.
___Empty or properly store containers and planters to prevent freezing and damages to the pots. 
___Clean out those gutters and down spouts to prevent ice clogs during the winter.
___Brighten your holidays by planting amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs.  They take 6 weeks or so to flower, so plan accordingly.  Plant them on staggered times to have colors all winter long.
___Spray evergreens (as needed) with WiltStop for greater winter protection.
___Do not cover roses for the winter until late in the year, after the plants have gone dormant and the soil is close to or frozen.  Reduce long branches as needed, but save serious pruning for next spring.
___Winter mulching should not be done until the ground is frozen, or at least down into the lower 40's or colder.

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Why is Fall the Best Time for Planting?

You have seen it on banners.  You have read about it in magazines and advertisements.  But is it true?  Is 'Fall' really for planting?  YES IT IS!  Just when folks are ready to "throw in the trowel" for the season, we are tooting the horns saying it is time to get the trowel out and get planting! 

The initial question about fall planting comes from the fact that plants are loosing leaves, they have stopped growing, and are shutting down for the winter.  And that is true.  But what is interesting is that while the tops are shutting down, the bottoms, or root systems, or firing up!  More roots are developed on plants during the fall season than any other time the rest of the year.  So, by planting in the fall, you are giving those newly planted trees and shrubs a head start on next year.  When spring rolls around, and those plants are thinking "flowers and leaves", they will have already started developing a root system last fall, that will help to support their spring growth.  (In addition to root development, planting in the 'Fall' is less stressful on the plants and us with the cooler temperatures, and under normal situations, Autumn's natural rainfall helps with watering.)

Fall is the best time for planting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, lawns, perennials, spring flowering bulbs, as well as planting all those great plants that provide us with great colors late into the season like mums, asters, cabbage and kale, Montauk daisies, pansies and violas, ornamental peppers, fall flowering perennials, perennial herbs, colorful hardy vines, and a wonderful selection of cold hardy annuals.  (Fall is also one of the best times for transplanting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, etc, for all the same reasons that its such a good time for planting.)

A healthy, well planned landscape can add as much as 15-20% to the value of your home, return as much as 200% on the original landscape investment, and as realtors will tell you, increases the resale value as well as improving the curb appeal when trying to sell your home.  It also provides personal pleasure and enjoyment, as well as helping the environment both aesthetically and functionally.  And now that you know 'Fall' is the best time to plant, what are you waiting for?  Get out and get planting today!

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What is the Best Way for Dealing with Leaves in the Fall?

Now that the leaves are falling in our lawns, an easy way to deal with them is to just rake them up, bag them up, and send them off to the landfill.  But before you do that, do us all a favor and try to use as many as you can right here in your own yard!

-Mow them back into the turf!  Recent studies have proven that finely ground leaves returned back to the turf is actually beneficial to the soil and the grass.  Soils with finely ground leaves returned to them showed increased microbial activity and better water infiltration.  Studies also show that when finely ground leaves were returned to the turf, the grass greened up quicker in the spring and also had fewer dandelions in the spring.  (The studies also showed that those leaves will break down even quicker when fall fertilizers were applied to the turf.)  Granted, this is not recommend for newly sown lawns or newly established lawns, but definitely recommended for established lawns.  Also remember there is a point where the turf can only handle so many finely ground leaves in a certain amount of time, and this process is best done during the lighter times of falling leaves.  But increased mowing during the times the leaves are falling allows more than usual amounts to be returned to the turf, thickens the grass by encouraging it to grow laterally, and overall, helps to build a thicker lawn in the next year.  Mulching mowers do an excellent job grinding up those leaves and placing them back into the turf.  If you do not have a mulching mower, simply mow throwing the leaves "in" rather than "out", so they will get mowed several times and evenly distributed on the turf. 
NOTE:  Do not allow whole leaves to lay on the grass over the winter.  Leaves left on the turf over the winter will actually smother the grass below, as well as set up the turf for possible snow mold.

-If you do collect the leaves, take those finely ground leaves and till them into the garden, flower beds, or areas where you will be planting next year.  Finely ground leaves are an excellent soil amendment that will break down over the winter, adding nutrients and organic matter back to your soils, as well as helping to improve the soil's structure.  And the earthworms will love you for it!  [You can collect finely ground leaves by using a lawn mower bagging attachment.  Or, if you do not have the attachment, collect the leaves, whole, place them in an empty trashcan, and then using a string trimmer, grind them up in the can, like using a food processor.  Protect yourself and your eyes while doing this.]

-You can also use these finely ground leaves to start a compost pile. Finely ground leaves, when combined with the right composting ingredients (grass clippings, greens, coffee grounds, etc), eventually turns into 'gardener's gold'.  Compost can be a gardener's best friend in all areas of gardening.  If you do not do anything else with your leaves, turn them into compost.  Guaranteed you will be glad you did!

-Collect leaves and use them for mulch.  Use ground leaves for mulch around trees and shrubs, in the garden or flower beds, and for helping to protect sensitive plants over the winter season (great winter insulation).

-If you still can not use all your leaves, check with local municipalities or local nurseries to see if they can use your 'extra' leaves.  By the way, try to not use disease or insect infected leaves, walnut leaves, etc when reusing leaves in the garden.  You have permission to toss those out.  And to help those of you with garden ponds, stretch a nylon netting over the pond to catch falling leaves before they fall into the water.  The same method can be used over groundcover to help collect fallen leaves.  Empty the netting as needed.  And in most cases, let your mower or leaf blower do all the work for you managing your leaves.  But if you feel you need a little physical exercise, raking leaves is a great stress reliever, and great waist reducer! 

-And don not forget about the leaves in the gutters.  Make sure you keep these cleared on a weekly basis, so your gutters will not get clogged when freezing rains and snow gets here.  Please, try to use as many of your leaves as you can in your own yard, before looking to ship them out.

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Should I Feed My Trees in the Fall?

Late fall is one of the best times for feeding your trees.  And if you would like to do it yourself, here are a few easy ways to get 'er done!

1.) If your trees are newly planted this year or this fall, use a root stimulant such as Bonide's Plant Starter.  It is a light and easy feed for new trees, and has vitamin B1 to help promote early strong root development.  This is mixed with water and poured around the base of the tree.

2.) If your trees have been in the ground for 1-2 years, still use a water soluble fertilizer, but this time, use something stronger, like Miracle Gro.  Again, pour it around the base of the tree.  You also have another option, which is the Ross Root Feeder.  This unique tool injects water soluble fertilizer right into the soil.

3.) If your trees have been planted longer than 3 years or are mature trees, you have a couple options for feeding.

-Ross Root Feeder again is one of the easiest ways for homeowners to feed their larger trees, by injecting a water soluble fertilizer directly into the soil.  This is the same process many professional tree care companies will use to feed the mature trees. 
-And then there is Vertical mulching - a process of drilling holes in the ground around the tree with an auger, and then putting granular fertilizer into the holes, followed by a good watering.  Although this really is a great way to feed the trees, and really helps improve the flow of air and water into the soil, it takes a lot of time and hard work ... and this process may be one to consider having the professional tree care companies take care of for you!  

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