Trees, shrubs, bulbs, grass seed, mums, asters, pansies and many more are ready to be planted.
The cooler temperatures, and more plentiful rainfall, makes fall a wonderful time to plant.
An added benefit to fall planting is that it gives the trees, shrubs, grass, and bulbs a head start for next spring.
Plants that are planted in the fall will be all settled in and ready to grow when the ground thaws and temperatures warm up next spring.
• Do not prune any spring-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, azalea, camellia, holly, lilac, rhododendron, spirea and viburnum.
They are within three weeks of completing bud formation for next year’s flower bloom.
• Now is also a good time to take your Christmas cactus outdoors and spray with insecticidal soap, allow it to dry and bring back indoors and place in bright, indirect light.
If you have been summering your plant outdoors, bring it in now.
Nighttime temperatures in the fifties will trigger the plant to begin its bloom cycle, which means it will flower in October or November if left outside.
• Dig and divide perennials that are growing beyond their assigned spaces — or ones that are dying out in the middle.
Discard the dead centers and replant divisions from around the perimeter. Fist-sized pieces are fine.
Late summer through early fall is the time to divide some of your plants that are overgrown, don’t wait; they need time to establish themselves before the cold weather.
• This is a great time to weed, edge, fertilize, and mulch flower beds. Edging the beds prevents the lawn from creeping in and taking over the bed.
Scratch up the soil around the perennials and shrubs and get all the weeds out. Remember to remove and discard every infected scrap of foliage and prune out all dead or diseased branches and discard in trash (do not compost).
• Do not wait for frost warnings to move your plants indoors. Temperatures of 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower can damage many tropical house plants. If needed, spray them first with Bonide’s Horticultural Oil.
• To help roses to harden off and mature for winter, stop using water soluble fertilizers about six weeks before frost.
Let the last blooms develop into rose hips.
This causes the plant to undergo chemical changes that slow its growth, stop its blooming, and help prepare it for dormancy and hardens off the canes for winter.
• Keep maturing vegetables picked to keep the plants producing. Watch nighttime temperatures and cover when necessary to keep them producing.
You still have time to clear out old faded crops and replant seeds of lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, and turnips for fall and early winter harvest.
TIP OF THE MONTH
To rid your houseplants summering outdoors of whiteflies before bringing them indoors, use moth crystals, because insecticidal soap will not work! In the evening, drape a clear plastic bag over the whitefly infested plant, and place a small Styrofoam coffee cup inside the bag with a few moth crystals inside.
Overnight, the concentrated vapors from the moth crystals will asphyxiate the adult whiteflies.
This will not kill the eggs, so you need to repeat the procedure every night for a week to completely kill them.
You can also use Ultra Fine Horticultural Oil to kill them, but they are hard to kill since the spray must come in contact with them.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is the owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)