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Plant Database

Find just the right plant using this searchable database.

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Plant Database

Find just the right plant using this searchable database.

fallleaves nov

Fall Clean-up

       First and foremost, cleanup and throw away any diseased plant material. Leaving diseased plant material on your plants or on the grounds provides a source for re-infection for next year.         Continue to rake leaves off the lawn.  Consider using raked fallen leaves as mulch around trees, shrubs or in flowerbeds.  Shredded leaves break down quicker and don’t blow around as much.  You can run your lawn mower over leaves to shred them before putting them in your flowerbeds.  Also consider placing shredded leaves in your compost pile or using a mulching bladed to chop leaves up and re-distribute them back onto your lawn.          Leaves aren’t the only things that can go in a compost pile.  As you cut back perennials and pile up other non-diseased garden refuse in preparation for the winter, return that bounty to your garden in the form of compost.  Compost is nature’s favorite fertilizer and soil conditioner. For information on how to compost: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/pdf/ag-467.pdf         A couple reminders: make sure pesticides are properly stored for the winter (follow label instructions).  An insulated building is enough for most pesticides, but a few should stay above freezing. Run all the gas out of small engines before storing for the winter as this will keep deposits from forming in the carburetor and will prevent hassles next spring.

perennial nov

Fall Gardens and
Planting in the Fall

        Fall is a good season for planting.  The cool weather permits the establishment of a root system before next year’s hot weather.  In most cases, watering plants at the time of planting will be all the water they will need to get through the winter.  Just remember, come spring and summer, they will need more water if it doesn’t rain.          Fall is also an ideal time for planting many trees and shrubs.  The roots will continue to grow some in the soil, giving them a jumpstart over plants that will be planted in the spring.  Late fall can also be a great time to plant trees and shrubs as they don’t need as much water during this time of the year and will become established before next year’s growing season.  Now through early February is an ideal time to plant deciduous trees, shrubs and perennials, while evergreens can be planted through November.  November is also a good time to plant spring-flowering bulbs.  These bulbs can be planted without water, as nature should hopefully provide the limited amount of water they will need.         In addition to planting, fall can also be a good time to move plants around the yard.  Moving plants in the fall reduces the amount of transplant shock the plant will go through.  If the plant is evergreen, remember that it still needs to be watered so it doesn’t dry out and die.  Always allow adequate space for plants to grow to their mature size.  A common mistake is placing a large or fast-growing plant where there is not enough room for its full height and spread.  When this happens you will spend your entire time pruning in an attempt to keep the plant a size nature never intended it to be.  Find out how large a plant can be expected to grow and then place them where they can fulfill their potential.

Hybrid Crape Myrtle

Extension Gardener

Extension Gardener™ is a statewide horticultural program that provides timely, research-based horticultural information. It helps Carolinians: increase their gardening knowledge, manage their landscapes, and sustain the environment.

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Fall Preparation for
Next Year's Garden

          Now is a good time to check your garden journal and find out what worked and what didn’t and start making plans for next year!  This is also a good time to do a soil test in order to have plenty of time to plan your spring fertilization.         If you are planning a cool season lawn, apply a quick-release fertilizer such as 10-10-10 around Thanksgiving.  Remember to put no more than 1 lb of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.         If blossom-end rot plagued your tomato crop this growing season, the soil pH could be low.  Lime is slow acting, so apply lime to next year’s tomato bed now.

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