Just do it: Fall's the time for planting success

Ivy Corner

 Q. My yard is beginning to look lifeless as the colder weather approaches. How do I achieve planting success in the fall?

A. Fall is a great time to rejuvenate your yard and garden. Also, now's the time to plant trees and shrubs since our winters are mild compared to the hot, harsh summers. Give your plants a jumpstart by establishing their root systems. While you're at it, fertilize your trees and shrubs before it gets too cold.

If you didn't know already, fall is the best time to renew your lawn. Apply fertilizer 2-3 times from late fall to early spring. This promotes deep roots and healthy growth. You'll also want to apply palletized lime to adjust your soil pH to neutral for lawn grasses. Over-seed with a top-brand of blended fescue seeds at the rate of five pounds per 1,000 square feet on over-seeded areas, and ten pounds per 1,000 square feet for new lawns.

If you're looking to add some color to your garden, the fall season has plenty of options. Mums and asters will add intense bursts of color to the landscape, or you can try cool season pansies which come in a multitude of colors and patterns. Pansies are especially great because they'll survive until early spring. Don't forget that fall is the time to plant your bright spring bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips and crocus. This will provide an early boost for color next spring.

Also, now's the perfect time for pruning since many plants are dormant. Be sure to stay away from spring-blooming shrubs. Many shrubs have already set their blooms for next season, and pruning them at this time may result in a disappointing show come spring.

There's plenty to do for any weekend garden enthusiast, and fall is a beautiful time to do it.

Debra Dolmetsch