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Summer is winding down and the kids are going back to school. But, we still have many lovely warm days in September that should not be wasted! Keep harvesting those fruits and vegetables and plant any remaining fall crops. Now is a great time to plant trees and think about great autumn foliage. Keep an eye on that fruit you covet and cultivate, while giving your lawn a little TLC.
Now is the best time to plant trees!
September is a great month for planting trees. We often think of spring being the season for such things but early fall is just right! The weather is usually still quite warm, with lots of hours of daylight, but we have intermittent cool, rainy days, making it a gentle adjustment for the trees. Planting in September gives the tree a couple months of milder weather before the winter cold and rain hits. Here are some tips, when planting trees:
- Water well! Make sure to water the plant in its container, before you take it out (use a watering can or hose). This will help the soil to stay around the roots, as you move it. Water the hole the tree will go into, as well, and, after transplanting is complete, give it another drink. Transplanting can be quite stressful for plants and a deep watering can ease that transition.
- Dig deep holes for plants to go in-but not too deep! Planting too deeply leads to rot, disease and death, if the trunk is buried below where roots send out. Bury the tree just up to the “root flare”, the place at the base of a tree where it widens, where the trunk stops and the roots begin. Dig widely (with a good sharp shovel) – a wide hole will give roots space to spread out.
- Fertilize your new tree, when you plant it. We recommend mixing in an organic fertilizer and compost into the backfill soil, then adding that to the hole where the tree rests.
With planning and care, you can have a lovely garden full of trees and that will thrive and grow for years. Come check out the selection of trees we have at Furney’s! From dwarf Japanese Maples to tall, stately fir trees and everything in between: we grow our own tree stock so it is already well-adapted to our climate!
Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color
Compared to other parts of the country, autumn color in the Pacific Northwest can be a little…heavy on the green. With all the moss, ferns, evergreen trees and shrubs native to the area, we have just the occasional maple to brighten things up. So, it is the duty of the gardener to add some color to the autumn landscape by planting beautiful deciduous trees and shrubs! Here are a few we have at the nursery that you might like:
Ginkgo biloba ‘Autumn Gold’: This tree is grafted, instead of grown from seed; the graft guarantees the tree will have a desirable form and vibrant fall color. ‘Autumn Gold’ is known for its stately shape and brilliant yellow display of color each and every fall.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia): This mid-sized, summer-flowering shrub produces a deep red fall color on large, oak-shaped leaves. The brilliant crimson is striking contrast to the pure white blossoms that still may persist into September.
Japanese maples (Acer palmatum): We carry many dwarf and larger varieties of Japanese maples that range from 3-20 feet tall. Each provides its own unique interest so you can plant several, for contrast. Fall colors range from the brightest crimson to the deepest purple and back to the glow of golden orange.
Red maples (Acer rubrum): This tree is a classic, when it comes to autumn color. Red Maples are beloved all over the U.S. for their lush foliage, ease of care and bright autumn displays of color. Choose between several varieties that we grow right here at Furney’s!
Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa): A native to the Northwest, this holly-like shrub offers lots of autumn interest. It’s glossy, evergreen foliage varies in shades of green to bright red and purple, throughout the autumn. As the name would suggest, Oregon Grape also produces clusters of bright blue-purple berries that are, in fact, edible, if absurdly tart (pictured below).
Prevent Heavy Fruit from Tearing
Tender fruit like peaches, pears, kiwis or tomatoes can sometimes get so heavy, as they grow, that they begin to tear away from the stem before they are ripe. This can invite fungus and disease into the fruit, rotting it before it’s ripe, not to mention its quite unsightly!
To prevent this, try supporting these large fruits, to keep them from ripping. Slip large fruits into fruit netting or old stockings then securing the end to either a sturdy branch or part of the support structure (especially for tomatoes). If a tomato is near the ground, try placing an old bucket or plastic plant pot under it, to take the weight off. You could make a special fruit hammock, strung between the ends of your cages or tree branches, with several growing pieces of fruit carefully nestled inside! These supports have the added bonus of keeping the birds, squirrels, slugs and anyone else from nibbling on this precious fruit.
Repair the Lawn!
Your lawn has probably suffered a little bit this summer. Between lots of foot traffic, Frisbee games, picnics and the heat of the sun, it may need a little TLC in September. Fertilize the lawn with a good organic fertilizer to give it a boost of growth before winter. Rake deeply with a metal rake to remove thatch and any fallen leaves. Continue to rake the lawn into late autumn, to keep fallen leaves from forming a mat on top of the grass, causing rot underneath. If you have bare patches, now is a great time to reseed as well! A little love and care will go a long way towards helping your lawn survive the winter and come back with lush beauty next spring!