Upper South

September, 2010
Regional Report

Make Plans to Plant

Besides being the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs, fall is also a good time to plant perennials, shrubs and trees. Planting in the fall allows these to get a head start on next year's growing season. Even though a plant's top portion won't be growing noticeably, its roots will become established after planting in the fall. The only caveat is to water plants well this fall after planting.

Deter Squirrels and Chipmunks in Bulb Plantings

Although spring-blooming bulbs are incredibly easy to grow, sometimes chipmunks and squirrels will dig up the bulbs, especially when freshly planted. Gardeners have evolved any number of ways to counter this. Here's one idea to try. The night before planting bulbs, put a few drops of turpentine in a paper bag along with the bulbs, shake the bulbs gently, close the bag, and leave overnight.

Clean Up Fruit Trees

Rake or pick up fallen fruit, twigs and leaves around fruit trees to reduce disease and insect carryover into next year. Also remove any "mummified" fruit left on the tree. Take some time to read about how to prune fruit trees, as well as organic pest controls. This combined effort will increase the productivity of the trees and your enjoyment of them.

Get Poinsettias to Re-Bloom

If you successfully kept your poinsettia plant alive and growing since last Christmas, you can get it to re-bloom for this holiday by providing complete darkness for 15 hours daily beginning about October 1 and ending about December 10, then provide bright light during the remaining 9 hours of the day. In addition, plants will need to be watered and fertilized.

Save Garden Seed

If you didn't plant all of the seeds in the packets this year, they can be saved for next year if provided with the proper storage conditions. The simplest way is to place them in a glass jar with either a layer of silica gel or several silica gel packets saved from commercial packaging. Place in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator or freezer. Another option is to place seed packets in vacuum-sealed bags, then store in cool, dry place.

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