Mid-Atlantic

October, 2012
Regional Report

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Autumn is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. The cool weather invites them to dormancy after their roots store food for winter. Plant now while the soil still holds some summer warmth. That will help the roots get established before the ground freezes.

Cover Your Cool-Season Crops

Extend the growing season of cool weather crops such as cabbage, Swiss chard, bok choy, and reduce insect infestations with a protective polyfiber cover, also called a garden or row cover. There are many types and sizes of garden covers available. Gardeners drape the fabric directly over the plants or on hoops or wooden frames that elevate the cloth above the plants.

Remove Dead Veggie Plants

Bush and pole beans, cucumbers, melons, squash, and tomatoes are on the wane. After the plants die, remove all their remains from the garden. Look for signs of disease or insect infestation -- rust on leaves, mildew, critters, eggs, larvae, odd leaf features and colors. Destroy all suspect debris by including it in landfill trash for pick up. Do not compost infested material yourself or include in yard debris for municipal composting.

Check for Iris Borer

When you're pulling out dead iris leaves to tidy the garden, check the rhizomes for rot and holes. That's likely evidence of the iris borer, a moth larvae that eats its way into the rhizomes, leading to soft bacterial rot. Dig up and destroy infested rhizomes. In fall, the female moth lays eggs on iris leaves. So destroy dead iris leaves, too, by putting them in landfill trash.

Pull Weeds Before They Seed

It's not too late to get some control over weeds. Pull out weeds like thistle, ragweed, burdock, cocklebur, horsetail, and dock before they go to seed. If you don't let them reseed, there will be fewer weeds come spring.

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