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 Green Thumb Nursery - 319-393-5946 - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Autumn Combinations

October 15, 2003

 A favorite plant combination for autumn is the bright red berries of Dwarf European Cranberry (Viburnum opulus compactum) with the airy white blooms Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata). Please notice that viburnums make great "trellises"!

Beautiful plant combinations are what drive those of us who love gardening. Creating pleasing effects of colors and textures of both blooms and foliage are the goals of gardeners and the obsession of "plantaholics" (although we prefer to be called "plant connoisseurs"!) Fall is a particularly critical time for us, as we know we will soon be suffering from "gardening withdrawal" with upcoming snowfall and a long winter approaching. So autumn landscape displays need to be particularly spectacular to carry us over until next spring!
Now is the time to be noticing and taking notes on those plants with flashy leaf color, bright berries and late season bloom. Many of the plants may not be readily available yet this fall, but with your notes you will be able to remember and find them next spring to plant in your garden or landscape. Remember gardening is all about planning for the future!

October - November "To-Do" List:

  • Continue planting trees and shrubs. Warmer soil and cooler air temperature encourages good quick root development.

  • Wrap young trees with tree wrap to protect them for winter. Trees with tender bark are subject to sunscald or frost cracking and to animal damage. Be sure to wrap all maples, crabapples and fruit trees.

  • Spray evergreens and broadleaf evergreens (rhododendrons and boxwood) with an anti-desiccant to help prevent winter burn and browning. Products like WiltPruf work to seal in the moisture that harsh winds and strong sun rob from evergreens in winter. Spray before temperatures drop to the 40’s, but be sure to read and follow directions on the product.

  • Continue watering plants as needed until the ground freezes.

  • Fertilize grass with a formulation higher in potash that will help build stronger cell structure and better disease resistance. Applying fertilizer by mid-October will help your lawn survive the rigors of winter and get it off to a strong start next spring.

  • Continue mowing your lawn until the grass stops growing in late fall. Rake and recycle or compost leaves. Long matted grass and leaf debris encourages snow mold on lawns.

  • Plant tulips, daffodils and other Dutch bulbs mid to late October, after the ground has cooled. Planting too early in warm soil encourages premature top growth this fall that may damage or kill the flower buds. Work bulb fertilizer or bone meal into the beds and water well after planting.

  • Remove all annual flower and vegetable debris after a killing frost. Removing old plant debris minimizes overwintering insect eggs and diseases in the garden.

  • Dig tender summer flowering tubers such as cannas, dahlias and glads and store in a frost-free spot over winter.

  • Mulch perennial beds just as the ground freezes to stabilize soil temperature. Covering perennials protects their crowns from the damage caused by moisture loss and the alternate freezing and thawing of late fall and early spring.