Fall is for the gardener. It all sounds so good. Rejuvenation from the summer’s heat, a new vegetable patch to be tended, and the revival of spring flowers give us reprieve going into this new season. Now is the time to plan and create our fall landscape.
Before you begin planting it is important to prepare the best soil conditions possible. First, water your flower beds to encourage weed germination. Once the weeds have begun sprouting you can pull them out or use selective herbicides to eradicate them. When using herbicides make sure not to apply on windy days and carefully spot spray if you have existing vegetation. I would continue this process for two weeks to make sure your flower beds do not become weed infested once you plant.
Second, add amendment to your soil. Every year you should establish a ritual of replenishing your soil with carbon based products. Continually adding top dressing will help this process by breaking down into the soil over time. You can expedite this process by working in humus (wood based products) or compost. We carry both options in bulk quantities so you can add a scoop or two in your pickup, we also have large bagged soil building compost available.
If you are working a moderate to large scale space I would consider using John & Bobs Soil Optimizer and Maximizer. Our customers have had great results with these products. It is essentially a highly concentrated soil amendment. It contains humus, minerals and live microbes that work to improve your soil in both sandy and clay conditions. For spot applications GardenMAX is the way to go. All the essential nutrients and fertilizer your plants need is found in one handy bag. These are found in our store or online.
There are so many great attributes to fall planting. A gorgeous array of blossoms and autumn foliage will make anyone embrace the season. There is a wide array of landscape shrubs available to choose from that will brighten up your yard. Take some time and stroll through our demonstration gardens to get a true sense of what each plant has to offer. Here is my short list of on trend favorites that capture unique textures and fall foliage.
Pennisetum ‘Hameln’ – This dwarf variety of fountain grass has quickly become a favorite. Its tidy compact habit only reaches 18” tall and wide making it ideal for boarder plantings. Emerald green leaves are topped off by fuzzy white inflorescence present from spring through fall. This grass does go dormant in the winter and needs a haircut in January to come back with vigor in spring.
Crassula ‘Campfire’ – A low growing succulent that creeps as a groundcover or spills over the edge of pots. Most of the year its thick green leaves exhibit a slightly yellow hue, but the cool air of the fall turn the leaves to a brilliant red/orange. 12” tall by 18”-24” wide.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ – Another succulent makes the list with its abundant clusters of rose-maturing to copper-flowers. Upright stems create a unique texture within the landscape or in pots. A noteworthy plant to consider.
Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ – This unique dwarf variety of Calamagrostis reaches three feet tall and wide. But the true visual impact are the vertical plumes that grow five to six feet tall. This piece of seasonal interest can create a unique barrier.
When selecting drought tolerant plants, as those listed above, it is important to note their growth cycle. Remember the phrase “sleep, creep, and leap.” Waterwise plants want to create an established root zone before energy goes into significant foliar growth. Be patient with your new plants and let them become established over the winter and watch them flourish next spring and fall. In my opinion early fall is the perfect time to plant because it gives shrubs and perennials plenty of time to become established before the summer heat begins.
Most fertilizers last three to four months. Early fall is a great time to re-apply with a low does, balanced, organic fertilizer. Plants need the extra dose of nutrients found in fertilizer to promote healthy leaf, stem and root growth. For new planting I recommend using Nutri-Paks. We carry these handy little fertilizer packets that are a three year (yes, three years) or slow release fertilizer. Simply drop the entire pack, packaging and all, into the hole and give your plants the nutrients they need.