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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Spring Forward, Fall Back
The saying, ‘spring forward, fall back’ though used for changing our clocks, also rings true for the planting season. We go guns a smoking in the spring with digging, dividing and planting but typically once the fall season rolls around we are pulling the reins back, tidying the grounds and closing up shop. However, there is still some time to do many plantings in the garden but you must pay attention to what is left of the season.
I like to use coffee for my analogy. If you have your first cup of Joe in the morning, you have your entire day to let the caffeine percolate through the system. You may even squeeze in the mid-afternoon cappuccino, similar to a summer planting and not see any adverse effects. But don’t drink coffee too late in the day. It can ramp you up when you are truly supposed to be shutting down for the evening.
You want to make sure you get plantings such as Evergreens in the ground soon. According to Nurserymen’s standards, mid-October is the cut-off point. This is also true with seeding your lawn. If you are dividing or planting your perennials, get them in the ground before too late; the earlier the better. If you divide or plant perennials late October, there is not enough time for the root system to establish itself. Without proper mulching to protect your plantings, frost can heave the crowns over the course of the winter.
Yet there is always an exception. There are many deciduous woody trees and shrubs that prefer working the graveyard shift. A number of these species do best when transplanted late into the fall and early winter when they are fully dormant.
A general rule of thumb: avoid transplanting any nut trees or pitted fruit trees in the fall. These are considered fall hazard trees. Always check your specific species and look for the variables.
You don’t have to completely close up the planting shop but remember that it is getting close to dusk. It’s time for your garden to take a breather. So get ready for the time change. It’s coming sooner than you think. To end today’s posting, we use a quote from Winston Churchill. "An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later." P.S. It’s time to catch up with our little guy, Ben. He came home last night from Tufts but is not out of the woods. Complete rest and more tests! This is tough when you have Border Collies. Rest is not in their vocabulary.
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