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Monthly Tips

"We are THRILLED with the way the path turned out. It is utterly charming with all the rocks and the way it winds...I didn't even want to come to work today, I just wanted to stay home and walk on the path all day."

- Mr. & Mrs. R
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October Garden Tips

Plant now for an early jump on next spring, warm days and cool nights with approaching rains mean an ideal time to get your new trees, shrubs and perennials established before next summer. Fall is one of our favorite times in the garden, and we hope you will join us for this unique time at Classic! Garden Tips Perennials & Annuals: Plant bulbs, plant bulbs, plant bulbs! The sooner the better: both for the availability of varieties as well as getting them in the ground well in advance of winter. Lift and divide existing hardy bulbs, if necessary, as well as overgrown or crowded hardy perennials, replanting into soil amended with compost. It is a prime time to also move that peony you have wanted to relocate. Plant the newest crop of pansies ("Winter Pansies") to add some fresh color to the garden or containers. Lawn Care: While the soil is still warm it is a great time to seed a new lawn, in advance of the fall rains that will aid germination. Shorter days mean slower top growth, allowing plants to store more nutrients and be in optimum condition for good, healthy growth next spring. It's still okay to give existing lawns one last feed before winter. Using a granular, organic/slow-release fertilizer will make the nutrients readily available to the grass when spring arrives and the demand is high. As the top growth slows and leaves begin to fall, mow the lawn at a shorter height than the rest of the year. Trees, Shrubs: LEAVE THE HIPS ON THOSE ROSES! They are an important signal for the plant to go into dormancy. Afterward, they are a good source of food for birds. Don’t use rose or fruit tree leaves for mulch. Rake up fallen rose and fruit tree leaves and toss them in the garbage or yard waste bin. Black spot on these plants can have spores that remain dormant until the spring. NEVER place mulch up against the trunk of trees or shrubs, and never apply more than 2-3" of mulch (see General Tips on mulching). Time is running short for the fall application of beneficial nematodes, as the weather gets steadily cooler. As it gets closer to the end of the month, check to see if that window of availability is still open. General Tips: Cover ponds with bird or other type of netting to catch leaf drop from nearby trees — much easier to remove!! Mulch: Those things that are planted/transplanted in fall should be mulched now — the mulch holds warmth in the soil longer, giving the plants more time to get established and protecting them in the winter. Mulching established plants should not be done now, because the additional warmth could promote weak, late growth that would be damaged in winter or prevent a plant from going into necessary dormancy before winter. So mulch already established plants in early winter. Fall leaves make excellent mulch. Keep them bagged/dry for winter mulching. Running over the leaves with a lawn mower will shred them into a more workable consistency, and enable them to break down more quickly. Leaves left intact may need to be removed in spring, as a nice little layer of leaves makes a dandy hiding place for (gulp) slugs. Don't apply more than 2-3" of mulch. And NEVER allow mulch contact with the trunks of trees and shrubs — it creates the perfect breeding ground for molds and funguses and offers a hiding place for pests that attack the bark of plants. Remember, with mulch you are trying to protect the roots, especially the more delicate tip roots, which are at the underground perimeter of the plant.

October Garden Tips

Make your thumb even greener. Follow some Classic Tips.

Is it hard to know when to divide the daylilies? Prune the paeony or trim the taxus? Sign up for our email Garden Tips and you'll get a monthly reminder about what's happening in your garden and what you need to do about it. (Don't want to do anything about it? Ouch. Better see our Landscape Care section!)

To receive the "Monthly Gardening Tip" just fill out the form above. Note: We are unable to send the "Monthly Gardening Tip" via an email attachment to some ISP's. If you asked for, but aren't getting it, either find a surly and jaded teenager to reconfigure your computer or simply send a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive "snail mail."

Tips for September

Labor Day Weekend The Nursery & Landscape Office will be closed in honor of the holiday on September 6th. Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

What to Plant
It's true, Fall is for planting! The soil is still warm, providing faster root growth and giving plants a head start for next year. By next summer, they will have a larger, more established root system than spring plantings, which means better drought tolerance and also better flowering their first blooming year. Also, the shorter days and mild temperatures of autumn mean less stress on new plants. Lastly, the inevitable rains help keep those new plants watered, meaning less work for you so you can enjoy late summer’s warmth before the cooler winds start to blow!
(Exception: Plants that are frost tender or borderline hardy for your area are best planted in the spring, unless they are being installed in a well-protected area.)

Perennials & Annuals: September is one of the best times of the year to plant perennials. Pop into the Nursery and pick up a few new additions. Tidy up annuals and trim back spent growth. Feed with a water-soluble fertilizer to encourage some annuals to put out one last round of bloom before frost.  Plant winter pansies, ornamental cabbage & kale, and fall mums to add some fresh color to the garden.

Vegetables:  It's not too late to plant some vegetables for the fall and winter vegetable garden. Overwintering types of Broccoli, Cabbage, Collards, Cauliflower and Kale can be planted by starts. To plant by seed, salad greens and other cool weather crops are still possible. If using row covers, cloches or other protection for crops, the possibilities are wider still. 

The Harvest
Questions about harvesting vegetables come up this time of year, especially as the weather starts to cool and we realize with a bit of a shock that we're witnessing the declining days of summer…

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are at their peak when they easily detach from the stem with only the slightest tug. But what to do if summer wanes and you are still facing green globes on the vine? You can boost the ripening of the larger fruit by removing all flowers and the smaller, immature tomatoes, beginning about September 1st (these smallest of fruits won't have time to mature in any case). An additional method is to start withholding water in late August/early September. This stress will cause the plant to ripen its fruit, thinking that it must hurry to ripen its seeds for reproduction. Watch out for late summer rains, however, which can cause these now more fragile vines to fall apart and become diseased. In the nearly inevitable event you are left with some green tomatoes, many will often ripen in the house if they are full size at harvest. (But search out some recipes for green tomatoes, just in case!)

Squash: Summer squash are best harvested while still on the small side. Not only is the flavor better, but if fruit is left on the plant for too long, seed formation begins and reduces further fruit set. A Winter Squash is completely mature when the stem is brown and shriveled. However, around here our summers often don't last long enough for that to occur. Therefore, to optimize harvest, you can remove the very smallest squash and any new ones from the vine after September 1st in order to allow the plant to put the remainder of its energy into ripening the larger fruit.

Planting container plants: Make sure the root mass is moist before planting. Dig the planting hole twice as wide as the root mass and to the same depth. Moisten the planting hole if it’s dry. Slide the root mass out of the pot and loosen the roots so they can grow outward (not circling) when planted. Place the root mass in its new home so it is level or slightly higher than the surrounding ground. Back fill and firm the soil with your foot or hand. You can mix compost in the back fill soil and/or topdress. Remember to water in deeply at this time to remove air pockets.

Planting root ball wrapped in burlap (B&B): If there is a wire basket, remove it before placing in planting hole. Carefully place the root mass in planting hole and cut the twine from around the trunk. Peel back the burlap and cut & remove as much as you can (the small piece below will rot away). Back fill the soil and firm with your hand or foot. Water in deeply at this time (very important) to remove air pockets.
Please contact us if you have any questions!

Lawn Care:  September and October signal it’s time to feed the lawn. We carry Gardener & Bloome 18# Organic Lawn Fertilizer to give your lawn the nutrients it craves. Shorter days mean slower top growth, allowing plants to store more nutrients and be in optimum condition for good, healthy growth next spring. Now is also a great time to reseed existing lawns or seed a new lawn while the soil is still warm and the autumn rains can aid germination.

Pests in the landscape:  As the rainy season starts to return, slugs will unfortunately increase their activity. Try using Sluggo, an extremely effective slug killer that is non-toxic to people and pets. Or, bait your slug traps with beer. You can search and destroy as well. Look under leaves and other debris.

Happy Gardening!
Classic Nursery & Landscape Company