Seasonal Horticulture Tips

ThreeJacksFall is here and our growing season is winding down, but there’s still plenty to do in our yards and gardens. Here are some fall gardening tips:

• Thin out 1/3 of the oldest branches of forsythia, lilac, spirea and potentilla for better bloom and shape next spring.

• Dig up tender tubers and corms of dahlias, cannas, caladium, and gladiolus. These can be overwintered and replanted next year. For overwintering dahlias, visit www.dahlia.org

• Pot up chives and parsley to bring inside for winter use. Take cuttings of coleus, root in water and plant. Coleus is a lovely houseplant all winter and will be ready to go back outside in late spring.

• Bring in any house plants you placed outdoors. Wash the leaves and check pots to ensure there are no hitchhikers. Insecticidal soap is a good option to spray on most house plants, once you’ve wiped them down. Follow label directions.

• Fall is the perfect time to prep your lawn with core aeration, overseeding, planting a new lawn and spreading lime and fertilizer (get a soil test first to determine amount needed at http://soiltest.umass.edu/ ).

• You can actually plant fall lettuces and greens now. You can start them indoors (and transplant after a few weeks) or just broadcast the seeds in a well prepared outside bed. If you want to overwinter lettuce and spinach, wait until November to plant, then mulch them heavily or cover with a plastic hoop house. You could have fresh lettuce and spinach in March! Certain types of lettuce and spinach are better for overwintering, ask your favorite seed supplier.

• Start your fall cleanup which will help with the success of your garden next spring. Plants and weeds left over for the winter can harbor diseases and insect pests. Remove dead annuals and weeds.trees

It’s a great year for apples! The dreadful winter we had last year made growing and fruiting conditions perfect. Enjoy!