This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Don't Dig Too Deep ~ Oak Galls? ~ If It's Growing We're Mowing
~ Bedtime For Gardens? ~ Deer Deterrents ~ This Week's Photos
~ Why Isn't My Red Maple Red? ~ Poinsettia Planning ~ Inspiration
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Shrub Pruning Calendar
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~ Cold Frames & Hot Beds
~ When to Divide Perennials
~ Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
~ Forcing Bulbs Indoors
~ Overseeding A Lawn
~ Pruning Trees
~ Pruning Shrubs
~ Planting Trees
~ Deer Resistant Plants
~ Trees that Survived the Storm
~ Stump Removal Options for the Homeowner
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This Week's Photos

~ October 8, 2008 ~

Pretty Darn Nice...
Today was off to a chilly start but once that bright, fall sun came up it really warmed up. The high is supposed to be 70 today, near perfect in my book. It looks as if we might be headed back into the low 80's for the weekend. It is hard to know how to dress these days. Low 40's to high 50's in the mornings and mid 70's into the 80's in the afternoons. Layering seems the way to go. This weather reminds me of one of my favorite US cities - San Diego, California. The weather we are experiencing right now seems to mirror what they experience daily. Sounds pretty good doesn't it?

It was great to see some rain yesterday. I enjoyed the drippy, cool day. It was getting dry and the rain came just at the right time. I love it when Mother Nature cooperates. I wish she was always so compliant. Well the leaves keep falling, falling, and falling. The windy and wet conditions helped them to fall everywhere. Our lawn is covered with them as well as all the gardens. I need to take advantage of this weather and get out there with a rake. Raking is not for the faint of heart. It is time consuming and arduous. It is great exercise however and when the weather is so nice who wants to be inside? Better get to work while I can. Soon it will be too cold and I will not have finished everything I want to accomplish before winter arrives.

~ Shelly   

Don't Dig Too Deep...
Planting a tree this fall? Great idea! Just make sure you do it right. The planting depth of a new tree is extremely important and often done improperly. Trees that are planted too deep may not grow as fast or be as healthy as those planted properly.

Here's what to do. Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly shallower than the root ball. Roughen the sides and bottom of the hole with a pick or shovel so that roots can penetrate the soil. The root collar (where the trunk and roots meet) should be at least even with, and as much as an inch and a half higher than, the final grade.

Bedtime For Gardens?
We are often asked how and when to "put the garden to bed." The term "putting the garden to bed" means preparing the garden for winter and the weather will dictate when that date is. Our first frost is normally in mid-October (any time now). How "hard" that first frost is will help you decide whether or not it is time to cut back all perennials and rid the garden of all annuals.We always like to squeeze as much time as possible out of the fall garden knowing that once that hard frost hits winter is well on its way.We'll keep you posted on the weather and when that first hard frost is coming.

Why Isn't My Red Maple Red?
Why do some red maple trees have yellow fall foliage instead of brilliant red? Although fall color will vary with different environmental conditions, in many cases the yellow foliage of these red maples is simply due to the genetics of the individual tree. Unnamed red maple trees grown from seed are not always brilliant red. They have highly variable fall color. If you want a red maple with red foliage in the fall, choose named, vegetatively propagated red maple cultivars such as Red Sunset, Magnificent Magenta or Autumn Flame. October Glory has outstanding foliage color but is late in acclimating for winter and can be damaged by early cold snaps. However, even these "good" cultivars will vary in the level of "redness" from year to year. A number of things can reduce the intensity of color including extreme heat or drought during the summer and cloudy days and warm nights in the fall.

Oak Galls?
What are those round bumpy lesions that are appearing on some local oak trees? Very possibly Oak Galls. A number of tiny non-stinging wasps, mites and flies are the culprits behind abnormal growths that develop on the leaves of twigs of oak trees. These galls can include growths that are round, spiny, flattened, elongated or star-shaped.

Generally, these gall insects do not cause significant damage to their hosts though some of the leaf galls can cause deformity to make a tree unsightly. Also, severe infestations of twig galls can cause twig dieback or, in rare cases, death.  However, just because a twig is covered with galls does not mean that it is dead.  Twigs that otherwise look like a solid mass of galls may still leaf out in the spring. More details and a photo are available here...

Deer Deterrents...
To protect your young trees from deer damage, there are a number of deterrents you can try. Hang bars of strong-scented soap, mesh bags filled with human hair, paper bags of dried blood (bloodmeal), or strips cut from white plastic bags on trees that are likely to be attacked. Remember, deer will become accustomed to most any deterrent, so alternating items will help.


Poinsettia Planning...
Christmas is still a way off but if you are planning on displaying home-grown poinsettias it's time to start planning. Poinsettias are short-day plants and must be tricked into blooming for Christmas. Follow these steps: Find a dark, cool (around 55 F) place where the plant will be kept at "night". It must be absolutely dark as even short exposure to a light bulb will throw the process out of kilter. Place the poinsettia in this dark place at 5 PM and leave it there until 8 AM the following day. Between 8 AM and 5 PM place it in a sunny window where temperatures will remain near 70 F. Do this for 11 weeks, watering and fertilizing as usual. With care and patience you should have healthy, blooming poinsettias for the holidays.

If It's Growing We're Mowing...
When do Savvygardeners stop mowing their lawns? When the grass stops growing of course. As long as it continues to grow keep bluegrass cut to 2 inches and tall fescue to 2 inches.  

Don't forget to keep the leaves from piling up and smothering the grass below!

"October is nature's funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming - October than May. Every green thing loves to die in bright colors."

~ Henry Ward Beecher



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