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Vonore, TN 37885


October 2023 In the Garden

Thursday, September 28th, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

If you have lived here for a few years, you know that this was a great summer. Mother Nature was (for the most part) gentle with the temperatures and generous with the rain. We had a few hot days and couple of short periods of drought and rough humidity, but compared to some years it was awesome. That does not mean, however, that I am sad to see summer go. I am ready for cooler temps and all the fall décor! It seems like all our customers are in the same state of mind, so let’s talk about fall planting.

Why is fall the best time to plant trees and shrubs? Because fall and winter is the time when the majority of root growth occurs. Plants aren’t trying to grow, bloom or put on leaves, so 100% of their effort goes into roots. That means that any trees and shrubs planted between now and the end of December have a head start on those planted next spring.

Here are a few things you need to know about fall gardening:

1 – October is typically our driest month. This means that you must water well. Sprinklers are inadequate for trees and shrubs because they deposit water at the surface. For trees and shrubs, you need to get water 12” into the soil at least once a week. Hand watering or using a drip line or a tree diaper works best.

2 – Some of your plants probably don’t look great. This doesn’t mean they are dead or dying. We had a lot of diseases and insects hanging around this year so spotty and/or holey leaves are more common than nice green ones right now. Some trees have already defoliated. Some plants are leggy and overgrown. When we have one of those glorious cool days, I suggest you go out and do a little work. Pull weeds, trim overgrown plants (call us if you don’t know what to prune), apply an organic fertilizer and fluff up your mulch.

3 – You can plant other things besides trees and shrubs, but you need to do it soon. Most perennials and veggies need to get roots going before we have a frost, and our average first frost is October 23rd.

If you want to know more about fall planting, come and talk to us. If you want ideas about what to plant, let’s talk about fall color. There are obvious tree choices, such as the red maples. There are many other trees other than red maples that also put on a show. Gingko trees have spectacular yellow leaves in fall, and Black gum trees are considered the most beautiful and reliable sources of color. Sugar maples, Shumard oaks, Autumn Brilliance Serviceberries and even Crape Myrtles can turn your yard into a fall wonderland.

How about shrubs? Camellias are one of my favorites so let’s start there. The Camellia Sasanqua is a fall bloomer and tends to be a little less temperamental than the Japonica, which blooms in the spring. The blooms will last for several weeks. Camellias prefer morning sun, afternoon shade and acidic soil and come in sizes range from 4’ to 20’. Most bloom white, pink, or red.

I also love my Oakleaf Hydrangeas, which turn a deep burgundy in the fall. Even after the leaves drop, the shape and bark of the plant is lovely. Burning bush, Virginia Sweetspire, Cotoneaster, and blueberries also turn red. For yellow shades, try Clethra, Forsythia or Witch Hazel.

What if you are looking for berries? Beautyberry is my favorite, but don’t forget viburnums, cotoneaster, chokeberry and hollies. Mahonia also has a good berry set in the fall and winter.

If you want perennials, there are several that either bloom in the fall or keep their foliage. Anemones, Joe Pye weed, Perennial Mums, Sedums and Turtlehead bloom now. In addition, many of the summer bloomers such as Coreopsis, Coneflowers, Black Eyed Susan, and Russian Sage often put on a new flush as temperatures cool. Don’t forget the perennials that are evergreen! Dianthus, some Sedums, Lenten Rose, Heuchera, and Candytuft are just a few that stick around for the winter months. Grasses also add color and movement through the cold months.
As for annuals, you can’t beat a Pansy for color. Plant them now and they will last until next May! They do well in the ground and in containers, so stop by while the selection is good.

I will finish by reminding you of a few chores that need to be done in the fall:

1 – Clean up your flower beds. Cut back fading perennials and clean up debris. You can leave plants that provide seeds for the birds but get diseased leaves up and away to prevent problems next year.

2 – Please don’t bag your leaves. Run over them with your mower and then add them to your beds. They make wonderful compost, and it is absurd to pick up leaves only to turn around and fertilize. Leaf compost is like gold in the compost world.

3 – Pull any weeds and then apply a pre-emergent to keep them from coming back.

4 – Keep harvesting cool season veggies and herbs along with any pumpkins, squash and gourds that are still on the vine.

5 – Mulch bare areas to help keep the weed population down and the soil temperature and water levels stable.

6 – Don’t forget the birds! Keep those feeders clean and full. If you have a birdbath that can remain outside, keep it clean and full also. Otherwise, clean it and store it for the winter.

That’s all I have for this month. Please call or stop by if you have any questions. Don’t forget that we have everything you need for fall decorating, and we will soon have everything you need for Christmas!

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East Tennessee's Mountain Views

P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885

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