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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

To Do or Not to Do

Realistically speaking, there is not much time left in the New England planting season. So ‘tis the time to hurry and scurry; remember the following deadlines:

Evergreens – Get them in the ground before mid-October. Don’t stretch these parameters. If the cold weather closes in quickly, it can raise havoc with evergreens. Their success rate can plummet if planted too late. This classification of plant material needs time to acclimate before the ground freezes.

Deciduous woody plant materials - This is a good time of year to plant many deciduous trees and shrubs with the exception of those that are considered fall hazards, i.e., nut trees and pitted fruit trees. For deciduous woody plant material, the rule of thumb is if the plant is shutting down or going dormant for the season and the ground is not frozen or saturated mud, it is an ideal time to get this classification of plants installed and tucked in for the winter. You can plant until the ground freezes.

Peonies – Get your rootstock in the ground before the end of the month. If you are dividing your own rootstock, make sure you remove and properly dispose all of last year’s growth to avoid disease and insect issues. Above all, plant at the correct depth to ensure flowering and protection from winter conditions. Before you move ahead with the Peony plantings, digest the easy diagrams available on reputable growers’ sites that will give you this pertinent information.

Bulbs – If you haven’t ordered your bulbs yet, get trucking. Bulbs are a crop. There are a limited number that come in from Holland so you have one shot to get the latest and greatest. Selection gets sparse so don’t hold off any longer. You want your bulbs planted by middle of November.

Unfortunately, the fall foliage may not be as brilliant as years past. I am beginning to feel like we are in L.A. rather than Massachusetts. The lack of color this year gives us gardeners plenty of time to work on these last minute plantings rather than schedule in leaf peeping. Today’s quote comes from David Letterman. “Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.”
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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)