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    Fall Landscape Care

    By Donna Dawson and
    October 02, 2012, 6:51:59 AM EDT
    Melinda Myers is one of our contributors to our site and presents some sound advice for gardeners at this time of year. This week you will also find articles on the site on Spicy Trends, Shade is for Real Gardeners, Leaf Out Pain and Strain, A Dracaena For Every Taste and much more… Fall Landscape Care - get more beautiful results with a limited investment of time and effort. Triple Your Benefits


    Cut the grass, recycle fall leaves, and improve the soil with a pass of the lawn mower. Shred leaves and leave them on the lawn as you mow this fall. As long as you can see the grass through the leaf pieces, the lawn will be fine. According to nationally known gardening expert Melinda Myers, “Shredding leaves and leaving them on the lawn is good for the grass and saves you time. As the leaves break down they add organic matter to the soil, improving drainage in clay soil and water-holding ability in sandy soils. It’s a great way to recycle a valuable natural resource and reduce your workload. You can increase the environmental benefit even further by using an electric mower to both cut your grass and shred the leaves.” Further improve your lawn’s health with fall fertilization. University research has shown that fall fertilization is the most beneficial practice for home lawns. Less disease problems and slower weed growth means your lawns - not the pests - benefit from the nutrients. Fall fertilization also helps lawns recover from the stress of summer because it encourages deep roots and denser growth that can better compete with weeds and tolerate disease and insects. “Northern gardeners can follow the holiday schedule and fertilize Labor Day and Halloween. Southern gardeners should make their last fall fertilization at least 30 days before the lawn goes dormant or the average first killing frost to avoid winter kill,” recommends Myers. Use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite, for best results. University of Florida research found the phosphorus and organic nitrogen stay in the root zone for the plants to use over a long period of time. Plus, as the microorganisms react with the fertilizer, the soil-bound phosphorus and potassium become available to the plants. Less Work, Better Results

    Leave healthy perennials stand for winter. According to Myers, “The seedheads add beauty to the winter landscape and provide food for the birds. Plus, research has found perennials left standing are better able to tolerate the rigors of winter.” Be sure to remove any diseased or insect-infested plants to reduce the source of pest problems in next year’s garden. Use any extra fall leaves as mulch. Shred the leaves with your mower and spread a layer over the soil to conserve moisture and insulate the perennials’ roots. Not only are the leaves free, but using them as mulch is good for your garden and the environment. Fall mulching gives you a jump on next spring’s landscape chores. Shredded leaves also make good mulch over bulbs. Plant daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in fall for extra color next spring. Set the bulbs at a depth of 2 to 3 times their height. Cover with soil, sprinkle on a low nitrogen, slow release fertilizer and water. The low nitrogen, slow release fertilizer promotes rooting without stimulating fall growth subject to winter kill. The leaf mulch helps conserve moisture, moderates soil temperature fluctuations and eventually improves the soil. Dig 'Em In

    Still more leaves? Then shred them with the mower and dig them into vacant annual flower and vegetable gardens or incorporate them as you prepare new planting beds. You will be amazed at how quickly these leaves turn into organic matter and improve your garden’s soil. Add a little slow release fertilizer to feed the microorganisms and speed up their decomposition. Or use the shredded leaves in your compost pile. Combine fall leaves with other plant waste, a bit of soil or compost, and a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer to create compost. Recycling yard waste saves time bagging, hauling and disposing of green debris. You also reduce or eliminate the need to buy soil to improve your existing garden soil. So, put away the rake and find creative ways to save time and money as you put fall leaves to work in your landscape.

    Gardening expert Melinda Myers has 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moment” television segments which air on network TV stations throughout the U.S. and “Great Lakes Gardener” seen on PBS stations throughout the country. In 2010, Myers launched Melinda’s Garden Moments for radio. Melinda also appears regularly as a guest expert on various national and local television and radio shows. She writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column and is a contributing editor and columnist for Birds & Bloomsmagazine. Melinda has also been a contributing editor and columnist for Backyard Living magazine and has written articles for Better Homes and Gardens and Fine Gardening magazines. Additionally, she hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years. Myers’ web site is http://www.melindamyers.com.



    Through September 30, stop by the Bok Tower Gardens Visitor Center to see the “Wish You Were Here!” antique post card exhibit. This eclectic collection of old postcards depicting the Singing Tower, Lake Wales area and other tourist destinations date back to the early 1930s. The collection is on loan from Gardens’ member Kenny Endline. Enjoy summer admission deals through September 30 at the Gardens. Children age 12 and under will get in free; Florida residents will receive $2 off the regular gate admission of $10 ; motorcyclists will receive the “Bike to Bok” buy one-get one free admission; and receive free admission on your birthday with valid identification. Summer admission specials do not include admission to Pinewood Estate and cannot be combined with the annual AAA Show Your Card and Save 20 percent discount or any other special offers. Information about upcoming Gardens’ events and activities is available with a free subscription to the “Friends of Bok Tower Gardens” eNewsletter. Visit www.boktowergardens.org to join or call 863-676-1408 for more information.

    Sept. 22, 2010 - “Gardening With Perennials and Grasses” Talks and Book Signings with Adrian Bloom at Perennial Plant Association Regional Conference at Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Wellesley, MA. A day of lectures and book signings with well-known horticultural speakers. See www.perennialplants.org for details.

    Sept. 25, 2010, 9 a.m. to noon - Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, NY (near Albany). Sponsored by Horticulture magazine and White Flower Farm. Adrian Bloom is the featured speaker. Registration at 8:30 with two talks scheduled at 9:00 and 10:30. Adrian will be signing copies of his new book “Bloom’s Best Perennials and Grasses,” published by Timber Press. For complete details and information, visit the Perennially Yours website or contact pyours@nycap.rr.com .

    “But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head. No longer blindingly bright, it throws things before me into sharp relief and deepening color. The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.”~Robert Finch, Common Ground, 1981

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