Mid-Atlantic

September, 2003
Regional Report

Hydrating Plants

Newly planted trees and shrubs need an evenly moist soil -- but not sopping wet -- to encourage rooting and hydration until the ground freezes for the winter. Well-hydrated plants withstand cold better, so use your finger to dig down and check soil moisture to see if and when you need to water. If the rains keep coming, you may not need to supplement much.

Monitor Sun and Shade

The sun angle changes as the days shorten. With the seasonally lower angle, more direct sun enters windows to sustain house plants. You also will find that shadows are longer outdoors, so some locations are shadier now than during the height of summer. Keep this in mind if you are planting or making garden plans for next spring.

Prepare Patio Plants for Indoors

Frost ruins tropicals, but many also resent cool temperatures, suffering and occasionally defoliating at about 45 degrees. To prepare plants for indoor growing, set them in a shady location to acclimate them to less light. Meanwhile, protect them on cool nights. Check plants for pests and after a week or so bring them indoors to your sunniest windows.

Use a Pro-Active Approach to Weeding

Weeds are in full seed-bearing splendor right now, so do your best to prevent them from seeding in your garden. If weeds are too plentiful to pull, at least nip off the seed heads before they burst open to spread their gazillion seeds. Any prevention steps you take now will be well rewarded next spring.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

New, healthy trees and shrubs can still be planted until the ground freezes. Unwind or snip any encircling roots, plant, and water to settle the soil. Apply a flat layer of organic mulch several inches deep over the root area, but do not put it against the trunk or stems. Keep soil evenly moist until frozen. Your plants will get a jump on next spring.

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