Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Truly, Fall Is For Planting

Photo: Fall displays have arrived at area garden centers with this lovely bin of gourds

The seasonal theme at garden centers today is "Fall is for Planting". Plant sales are everywhere. If you have recently purchased a home and your budget is tight, buy yourself an early, but practicable holiday gift- a deciduous shade tree planted along the southwest side of the home. In a few short years, this tree will reward you with valuable shade and lower summer cooling bills.

Some good deciduous choices are red maple, green ash, tulip poplar, sweetgum, willow oak, and basswood. Garden centers push to reduce store inventories, saving you 30%-50% off the list price. I offer these six basic landscape planting tips:

1. Plant only deciduous trees in the front of your home, and evergreen trees (pines, hollies, hemlock, etc.) elsewhere
2. Dig a hole three times wider and shallow enough to accomodate the diameter of the root ball
3. Plant shallow, barely covering the root ball and add no soil amendments
4. Apply three inches of an organic mulch (wood chips, pine straw or compost) over the surface
width of the planting hole and do not pile mulch up against the trunk
5. Slowly pour a minimum of 10 gallons of water to each tree after planting
6. Do not fertilize fall-planted trees and shrubs until late February or March.

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