Middle South

September, 2005
Regional Report

Allow Rose Hips to Form

You've been diligent in deadheading your roses to promote more bloom. Now it's time to stop and let nature take its course. By allowing spent roses to remain on the plant and develop into the fruits, called hips, you'll encourage plants to begin entering dormancy. If you continue to deadhead, plants will respond by sending out new growth, which will be susceptible to damage by early fall frosts.

Prepare to Move Trees and Shrubs

If you have any trees or shrubs you'd like to relocate llater this fall or early next spring, prepare them now. With a sharp spade, slice down into the soil around the rootball. This will cut through the roots and encourage the growth of new roots, which will ease transplant shock later on.

Continue Weeding

As weather cools down, it's time to get back into the perennial garden and catch up on your weeding. Once you've cleaned out unwanted plants, add a thin layer of fresh mulch to help smother any weed seeds and tidy up the garden for enjoying this autumn.

Save Those Leaves

Fallen leaves are nature's way of returning nutrients to the soil. Don't bag yours and take them away -- you'll be throwing away free fertilizer! Instead, shred them and add them to vegetable beds, use as a mulch around trees and perennials, or add to your compost pile. Contact your town or county government to see if there's a municipal leaf composting facility, where you can pick up mulch made from leaves gathered from people who don't know they're thowing away a treasure.

Plan Your Spring Garden

Place orders for or purchase spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses, while the selection is good. Don't plant them just yet, however. Instead, store the bulbs in a cool, dry place or in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Plant to plant most bulbs in mid to late October, when soil has cooled down enough to encourage slow, steady root growth.

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