Nursery Notes: Fall is time for cleaning up the garden

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It’s early October. We’ve just had a couple of frosty nights. The sky is clear blue now, but we have had ample moisture from recent rains. Therefore, plant cells are full of water. Right now is a great time of year to move field-grown trees and shrubs. The earth is at its warmest this time of year. Plants are naturally sending their energy into the ground. The frosty evenings have reduced any demand for moisture from the top half of the tree or shrub to almost nil.

As an added bonus, it is cool enough outside you probably won’t even have to break a sweat planting. You can dig a good size hole extra wide but not too deep, water your new tree or shrub in and let it root in for next spring. It really is the easiest time of year to take care of these things. My only caution with small items one gallon or less is to make sure the frost hasn’t heaved them partially out of the ground in a couple weeks. Larger items do not have this concern. It is slow enough around the nursery this time of year; you may want to make an appointment before stopping by as I may be away.

Fall is also a good time of year to get a jump on your yard and garden cleanup. As soon as your trees lose their leaves, you can rake them up and add them to your compost (except for walnut leaves). If you have had any disease issues with trees like peach, nectarine, Crimson King maple, mountain ash or hawthorn, I would caution you to either burn or otherwise dispose of these leaves where they won’t contribute to reinfecting your trees again next spring. Now is a good time to spray copper on these trees to protect them from infection during the cool and wet months ahead.

Mulching of roses and perennial beds this time of year is beneficial. Remove persistent weeds, lightly shear back your evergreens and do some general cleanup. With consistent fall rains, now is an easy time of year to fill in those empty patches in your lawn. Lightly rake the soil and overseed. Ample moisture should have your seed growing in a few weeks.

Evan Davies owns Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.