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Fall is the ideal time to divide hostas.

correctly, plants will struggle to thrive. Summer can be even more difficult as higher temperatures and lack of water can increase stress on transplants. By the time fall rolls around most pests and diseases have disappeared, or at

least have past their spreading

and destructive stages. Gardeners can save a few dollars on fertilizers as well, since there is no need to encourage growth or blooming. Most areas will have an ideal plant- ing window of six weeks before the hard frosts of Septem- ber or October begin to roll in. None of this is to say that plants can’t and aren’t success-

fully transplanted at other times of the year, but rather to let disbelievers know that fall really is a great time to plant. Gardeners bothered by the heat of summer, or frustrated with the number of spring planting days, can take advan- tage of the cooler temps by planting at this time of year. In fact, the only downfall to shopping and planting in the fall is the decreased selection in plants! Selecting your baby from the nursery

When purchasing plants in the fall the most important

thing to be cognisant of is the plant’s overall health. Check the soil to ensure that is not mouldy from overwatering or too root bound. The leaves may be turning, depending on when you are making your purchase, but look for signs of disease – leaf spots, dried out branches, dead areas and insect infestation. You should also purchase a root enhancing fertilizer. Prior to placing your plant in its newly dug hole sprinkle

30 • Beautiful Gardens 2015

the recommended amount in, then place your plant. At this time of year many plants have become root bound, be sure to loosen the soil and cut compacted root balls with a spade or trowel to allow them to branch out properly. Many greenhouses still offer warranty on fall purchases!

So how can you go wrong? What can you plant?

Basically, you can plant almost any tree, shrub or peren-

nial in the fall. It is also a great time to sow grass seed, spring-blooming bulbs and cool-season vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard. Grass – Grass seed is best sown closer to hard frost as

you don’t want the seeds to develop and die. It is also a great time to take care of all your lawn needs – dethatch- ing, aerating and fertilizing. Spring bulbs – These beauties must be planted in the

fall for a blazing display of spring colours. Bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinth, and squill need to experience a period of cold dormancy to sprout in the spring. Remember not to plant summer and fall blooming bulbs such as glads, cannas or dahlias, and remove them as soon as they begin to die back, prior to freezing. Vegetables – That’s right you can still plant vegetables

such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard in the fall. These plants thrive in the cooler fall temps, just ensure you have enough time to harvest them. The season can be extended through periods of light frosts by using row covers.

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