Peck's Green Thumb Logo
 Green Thumb Nursery - 319-393-5946 - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
 My Account
 Plant Library
 About Us
 Contact Us
 Privacy Policy

Striving for a Beautiful Tomorrow

October 1, 2001

 Even though winter approaches, we work to plant and get the garden bedded down this fall so the plants will awaken next spring even larger, stronger and more beautiful. What a great outlook to always hope for and work towards a better, more beautiful tomorrow!

A couple of our favorite plants are really at their prime in the fall. Keep these in mind as you plan and plant your landscape this fall or next spring:

Sweet autumn clematis has fragrant small white blooms appearing by mid-September and continuing for about a month. In the photo it almost looks like fluffy, white frosting climbing over the small tree and along the porch rail. Clematis is usually grown on a trellis, but it will climb up a tree or large shrub to give added bloom power to a patio tree or shrub border. We are particularly fond of sweet autumn because it is so vigorous and hardy, and its sweetly fragrant shower of blooms is the last showy flower display in fall. Like all clematis it likes sun on its foliage and cool shaded soil at its roots.

Fall fruits are particularly showy this year on cranberry viburnums. The bright red berry clusters look almost like showy red Christmas decorations on the shrubs. The berries will persist through the winter until the birds eat them off. Viburnums are favorites for their showy spring flower clusters and fall berry clusters. Many viburnums also have colorful fall foliage. Arrowwood and cranberry are two of the most common viburnums. They are valued for their hardiness and adaptability, as well as their spring bloom, fall berries and autumn leaf color.

October "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
    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
    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
    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
    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.

Most of all, enjoy the beautiful colors of fall. Mother Nature puts on a very colorful display as she puts her plants to sleep in autumn!