Volume 6, October 2016
October Greetings,

With the return of cooler temperatures and more frequent rain showers, we are in the midst of fall planting season.  Clients with just a few plants or more extensive installations are finding this is a great time to get root systems established and beat the spring planting rush.  We are also doing a lot of dividing and transplanting of perennials right now.  This season will continue until November 1 - then we'll swing into dormant pruning, bulb plantings, and preparations for winter.
Getting the Garden Ready for Winter - Slowly but Surely
What do we do to get ready for what may be a very cold winter (or mild like last year - who knows)?  It would be great if we knew ahead of time...but we don't!

Right now, we're still enjoying great fall color and bloom in most gardens.  Asters, sedums, toad lilies and monkshoods look just beautiful.  As foliage begins to blacken or fall over, we are cutting down the plants.  Summer annuals can be removed.  Once closely planted beds are cleared, I recommend a topdressing of compost to help the plants recover from the drought.  We are doing this often in conjunction with soil amending, per soil test results taken early in the fall.
Asters, sedum and Crocosmia

We recommend watering recently transplanted or planted trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.  Perennials may need this same attention, depending on soil moisture levels and siting.  Even after foliage drops from the woody plants, continue to water.  Some may lose leaves early due to the combined effect of drought and transplant shock.

Trees with thin bark need trunk protectors installed as leaves drop and the deer begin to rub against them, hoping to lessen the pain of losing antlers!

We'll hold off on putting down salt marsh hay or protecting tender roses until the ground freezes.   Otherwise, we just make homes for small rodents who will then dine on the plants.  More on that in the next newsletter.

Be sure to clean up your vegetable garden promptly.  Foliage of spent crops makes a great overwintering spot for a large variety of pests.  Foliar diseases can lurk in these areas as well.  For those with raised beds, we are again offering our special raised bed mix to top off your gardens this fall.  This will give you a nice leg up on spring planting and replenish nutrients lost to this year's harvest.
Plant Health Care Tips for Late Fall
Winter Moths Swarming
Winter moth's nuptial flights
Winter moth is still a problem in some of our communities like Lincoln, Concord, Carlisle, Lexington, Wayland, and surrounding towns.  We offer a banding service for susceptible trees such as maples, oaks and dogwoods.  The best time to put the bands on the trees is between Halloween and Thanksgiving, preparing for the nuptial flights of the male moths who emerge to seek females crawling up the tree trunks.

For more information about the life cycle of this pest and its breeding cycle, visit UMass Extension's web site.

Please let Doris know if you would like the banding service this year, as we need to order the product now.
Winter burn on evergreen

Anti desiccant - Has pine sap as its main ingredient and nearly invisibly coats the leaves or needles of yews, boxwoods, rhododendrons and hollies during periods of winter winds and scalding sun, much like lip balm protects lips.  In spring, it slowly breaks down as temperatures warm up. 

Anti-desiccant is also recommended for any west or south facing plantings or Zone 6 plants.  The application is done in November using our 200 gallon spray tank.  Only one application per season is necessary.  

Deer protection is most effective if applied in November, just as deer lose green grass, leaves and shoots as a food source.  We spray it on the shrubs they prefer to eat such as holly, yew, arborvitae, and rhododendron.  If you see deer on your property or traces of their presence, chances are they will soon be browsing at night on your plants!  Our invisible repellent is
composed of sulfur, garlic and hot peppers that deer find unappetizing.  
Asian Longhorned Beetle

Asian Longhorn Beetle - Emergence season is here for this exotic pest. Check your trees for frass, exit holes the diameter of a large pencil, and the beetle itself.  Trees they prefer to live in include Maple, Birch, Elm, Willow, Horsechestnut, Ash, Plane Tree, Poplar, Mountain Ash, Mimosa, Katsura and Golden Raintree. 

Look for more information on this helpful website, including where to report sitings.
Plant Pick - Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'
Anemone x hybrida
'Honorine Jobert'
I thought I'd highlight a late fall bloomer and the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year for 2016:  white Japanese anemone.  This beautiful plant really glows in the low light of late autumn, especially in a partially shady garden with well-drained, humus rich soil.  Avoid hot and dry locations or the foliage may burn.  It's especially nice combined with gold, red and orange tones.  

This plant is very low maintenance, with the need only to have the stems cut and foliage cleaned up in late November.  No pests or diseases bother it.  Deer leave it alone.  But be careful about siting - Japanese anemones have long taproots and do not transplant well.  If you find your plant has grown while you weren't looking, it can be easily shovel pruned at any time to control girth.

In China I saw many Japanese anemones blooming in July at elevations of 5,000 to 14,000 feet!  Colors were pink or white, just like home.  So enjoy this world traveler this fall.
Priscilla's To-Do List for October
  • Change over containers to a fall theme, removing spent summer annuals
  • Begin cutback of any perennials with blackened foliage
  • Dig up tubers of dahlias and gladiolus to store indoors and replant next May - wait until just after frost for this task
  • Spray tender plants with insecticidal soap before bringing indoors for winter
  • Leave selected seedheads for the birds, then cut down in late fall or early spring
  • Finish any dividing or transplanting work by November 1
  • Water woody plants deeply once per week, especially anything planted within the past 3 years
  • Install protectors around trunks of trees with thin bark such as crabapple, magnolia or fruit trees against "buck rub" damage
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs
  • Clean up the vegetable garden, harvesting the final crops
  • Amend soil per soil test results to balance nutrient levels and prepare for great bloom or production next year
  • Continue to monitor fall-seeded lawns for water needs, mainly letting Mother Nature provide the water
  • Remove fallen leaves promptly from newly seeded lawn areas so that light and air have openings to reach the new grass
  • Shred leaves and reuse them in garden beds as added organic matter and winter mulch
Hope you all enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

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