“We have the usual heavy clay soils, and are going to plant some new shrubs and a couple trees this fall. Do you have a recommendation as to the type of topsoil mix we should buy for filling back in around the new plants?
Great question! And my answer is – do not purchase a topsoil mix to use as a backfill! Use the same soil you took out of the hole, to plant your trees and shrubs. We recommend that you amend that original soil with Pine Soil Conditioner (create a backfill of about 20-30% pinefines to 70-80% original soil – all chopped together) which works great! But do not bring in new topsoil, or use bagged ‘topsoil’ or ‘potting’ soil for backfill. By the way, when finished planting and you’re watering the plants, feed them at time with Bonide’s Plant Starter. You can use Plant Starter as a fertilizer for any new plantings, as well as feeding annuals, perennials, containers, etc. Be sure to grab one of our Planting and Watering Guides when you get your plants at the Nursery Outlet.
Will ornamental peppers in container design last throughout the fall?”
No. They make great additions to fall plantings, but unfortunately are not frost / freeze hardy. So, when we get to that point, simply pot them up and take them inside for the winter. They make great indoor plants (need a sunny location) and will set fruits all winter long.
“Are the ornamental cabbage and kales edible or just used for their colors and interesting leaves?”
Well, they are edible, but these selections are actually grown more for their ornamental values than for eating. The colder it gets, the more colorful they get. NOW, the Red Giant Mustard green is a little different story. It is actually grown for the green to eat, but is one that also gets very colorful as the temps get cooler. Tastes like a spicy Dijon mustard, and turns red. So you get dinner and a show!
“Can I shear back my boxwood hedge this month?”
I wouldn’t recommend it. Hand pruning to remove some longer stems is fine, but in so many cases where boxwood are sheared hard in the fall, they brown more than usual and look horrible through the winter. I think they can experience more winter damages rather than when left alone. I say save the hard shearing to next spring, just before they leaf out with new leaves.
“When do you transplant Peonies (they also have powdery mildew)?
Peonies are best dug and divided in late summer, rather than spring. And remember to replant them at the same depth they were growing…planted too deep and they will grow, but not flower. As for the powdery mildew – when you remove the foliage this or next month, pitch it out so the plants start off clean next year. If you’ve had powdery mildew the past couple years, you may need to spray as a protectant with a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew, next spring thru mid- summer. Then monitor for any showing up later, and if detected, resume spraying.
“What are some late blooming shrubs that are bee friendly?”.
Come to the Nursery Outlet right away, and look at all the shrubs and perennials in flower, and which have lots of bees! Right now, the Caryopteris are covered with bees. So are the Seven Son Flowers, mums, asters, coreopsis, rudbeckia, Sweet Autumn clematis, and a whole lot more. We have a great tip sheet for you on choosing pollinator plants. When you drive into the parking lot at the Outlet, be sure to look to your left towards the lake. You’ll see our two bee hives!
“ Can we still plant milkweed / butterfly weed plants in our gardens for the Monarch butterflies?”
YES INDEED! Plant it and they will come! It has been wonderful this summer to see all the pictures our customers have emailed us showing Monarch butterflies on their newly planted milkweed / butterfly weed. It really works, and is really needed! We have 4 selections for you to choose from, as well as many other butterfly loving plants.
“Is there a specific tall fescue that you recommend for our area?”.
There are actually several good turf type tall fescue selections available, but I have always and still do like the TLC Tall Fescue Blend. If you’re seeding, be sure to use a starter fertilizer with the new seed. If doing some seeding in the lawn, that will also help feed the existing lawn. Don’t forget to feed your lawn at least twice this fall!
“Is there a yew that deers do not like that looks similar to the Japanese yew?”.
Yes, the Cephalotaxus, or commonly known as Japanese plum yew. It looks similar to yews you’re used to (say that three times fast!), but more open. I think they have a more ornamental or specimen look about them, but not the exact same look at the Japanese yews. We have both the spreading and upright selections – come see what you think!
“We removed a Canada Red Cherry this spring which was infected with Black Knot. This fall, we would like to replace it with an ornamental Plum or Kwanzan Cherry. Is it okay to replant another tree in the same area as the Canada Cherry was growing?”
Yes, but do remember that Black Knot, which is an air-borne disease and not in the soil, can also infect the Plums and Cherries. Any plant in the Prunus genus would be susceptible (some less than others). So we may suggest you look at other flowering / ornamental trees that are not in the Prunus genus. Come see our tree experts and we’ll show you many options!