The first official day of fall is only a week away, so the time to start mapping out your seasonal garden plan is now. Here are a few pro tips to remember.
1. Warm season annuals provided color all spring and summer, however, extreme heat and long periods without rain have taken a toll. If your annuals are still hanging in there but need some work, trim them back and start feeding them again. If your warm season annuals aren’t up to the challenge, don't worry. It’s time for fall annuals such as mums, celosia, plectranthus, zinnias, marigolds, cabbage, kale and more.
2. Did you know fall is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs? Soil temperatures are warm, which gives roots time to get established before the cold winter sets in.
3. Ornamental grasses are pluming right now. If your landscape could use more visual interest during late summer and fall months, consider adding ornamental grasses for texture and movement. They are easy to care for, drought resistant once established and love hot, sunny weather.
4. Many perennials benefit from being divided occasionally, and this is a great time of year to do so. For more information about this method of growing your garden, click here.
5. Speaking of perennials, there is an outstanding, semi-evergreen perennial that grows well in cool season containers. Coral bells or heucheras offer a wide range of foliage colors that contrast well with other container garden plants, from sweetflag to creeping jenny.
6. Pansies. As temperatures cool, it’s time to shop for winter hardy pansies. These annuals are cheerful, reliable bloomers and are available in just about any color you can think of.
7. Every year, a new batch of lucky people are introduced to Cool Wave pansies. Cool Waves trail over container edges and have a spreading habit when planted in the ground. They are outstanding annuals, and if you haven’t grown them yet, you are in for a treat.
8. It’s easy to get caught up in the joy of those first blooms each spring and almost forget there are shrubs that bloom at all times of the year, including fall. Fall blooming shrubs include Encore and Bloom-A-Thon azaleas, Drift and Knock Out roses, butterfly bush, camellia sasanquas, ornamental grasses and even the vine sweet autumn clematis.
9. Fruit trees and small fruits such as blueberries, much like trees and shrubs, benefit from being planted in the fall. While planning these, consider tucking some fall vegetables in your landscape here and there. There is still time to plant and harvest some vegetables, but it needs to happen soon.
10. Most of us spend more time outside during the fall and spring months, giving us more opportunities to figure out what is working and what isn’t. Maybe you need to add trees and shrubs with fall color (maples, burning bush, ginkgo, Chinese pistache, black gum) or maybe your space would benefit from evergreen screening plants. Because there are many gardening tasks that can be best accomplished this time of year, it’s a perfect time of year to take stock and adjust your space to your liking.