Linda Whitlock Fall Advice

We were fortunate enough to have Linda Whitlock join us the other day to lead a Quick Class.  She is a wealth of knowledge about plants and how to best take care of them in this area.  Linda works with the MSU Extension Service in Consumer Horticulture.  I took a lot of notes about everything from the lack of water and how it will effect the trees to why fall is a great time for planting and her suggestions.  It’s too bad the class was only an hour!

Here are the highlights:

Trees may be suffering without water

Linda told us about the impact she is seeing on local trees due to the lack of water this winter, spring and summer.  She said a lot of area trees may be in danger and much of the impact may not be known for up to a couple of years.  She recommends soaking the roots of your trees thoroughly before it freezes.  A general guide is to leave the hose running for several hours to overnight.  Maples are the most susceptible.

(On a personal note… So I told my husband about this when I got home.  We had worried about our Japanese Maple and how it was holding up.  He went out and put the hose on right away.  The problem is we both forgot about turning it off for a couple of days!  Oops!  So my advice to add to Linda’s is to set yourself a timer as reminder to turn the hose off!)

Fall is the right time to plant

Fall is good for planting because:

  • The soil is warm for roots to easily spread and get a jump start for spring.
  • Temperatures usually are lower and there is usually more water so plants have less stress.
  • There is generally less disease and insect problems in the fall.
  • Critters are generally more interested in “woody nutrition” for fiber rather than tender foliage.

Linda’s favorites for the fall

  • Asters – they make a beautiful display in the fall and are really hardy in this area.
  • Chrysanthemums (better known as mums) – add a pop of color and can be treated as annuals or as perennials depending on what you want.
  • Dahlias – They come in many colors and sizes.   (annual unless you bring in the bulb)
  • Ornamental Grass – They can provide interest all winter
  • Joe Pye Weed – native perennial with terrific fall color.
  • spring flowering bulbs – Can plant until the ground is frozen.  Tulips are like critter candy but daffodils are not.  Alliums are outstanding and help deter deer.  A good idea is to plant alliums in your hosta to keep the deer away.  Fruitilaria is unique and fun.
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