Thursday, October 9, 2014
Posted By: in Gardening

Happy October to you!! Did you know that the leaves of trees change colour in the fall in reaction to the change in length of the day? Once a certain daytime vrs night time threshold value (specific to each type of tree and geographical area), is met, Chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green colour is blocked from the leaf allowing the yellows and oranges to be unveiled.

Fall Colour Japanese Maples

Trees also have a temperature threshold which signals some to then produce anthocyanins, from the sugars trapped in the leaves, which give the red and purple colours. A warm fall like we are having here in the Lower Mainland with not quite enough difference in day and night time temps to hit most trees threshold for anthocyanin production ,are giving us a rather muted fall colour so far.

What I am hoping for is cooler night time temps while still maintaining the lovely fall daytime temps…not just for completely selfish reasons mind you, so we can get a brilliant fall show before a hard frost comes along with the knock down. Feel smarter? Me too. Now here is your to-do list.

Lawns

If you’re still thinking of seeding and major renovating I think you’re pushing your luck. You can still turf now as long as the ground isn’t frozen, but if you want it to sustain normal traffic you have to wait until it is rooted in. If our Novembers remain in character…you may be waiting awhile. Still time to get that last mow in and call your friends in Alberta while you are mowing. It will annoy them more if you have the sound of burgers sizzling on the BBQ as well. After you mow and finish your burgers winterize your mower and remove the gas.

Red Japanese Maples

Trees and Shrubs

Great time to plant new. Moving any existing trees and shrubs will have to wait until they are dormant. I don’t recommend pruning at this time unless it is to remove dead damaged or diseased branches.

Plants For Fall Garden Colour

Garden beds

A general tidy is ok, be mindful of being too tidy though. Most of you know the drill, but for any new readers, we have a huge number of overwintering pollinators in the hollow stems of perennials and ground. Tread lightly. Its a great time to add some fall and winter colour to both your garden beds and planters. A few of the plants looking great include bud-blooming heathers, ornamental cabbages and kales as well as winter pansies.

Garlic and Spring Blooming Bulbs

Bulbs

October is the absolute best time to plant spring flowering bulbs. The ground is little more moist and the selection is awesome. Get these little packages of flowering goodness in the ground now and you're spring garden will thank you!. It is also a wonderful time to plant garlic. Garlic planted now will be ready to harvest by next summer. This year we have some really neat varieties including Russian Red, Elephant and a couple of others.

Fall Planters

Planters

Group your evergreen and 4 season planters together where they will be protected and where you will get to view them. Refresh anything that needs refreshing and double check for drainage and cracks in the containers. For annual planters, cut down but leave the roots if you want to use them in a display as the roots will help you anchor greens and branches. If you are not going to use them in a display you can clean and empty them.

Yes, We Plant Custom Containers!

While we don't make a big deal of it, our talented garden designers can plant up customer containers for your patio or landscape. Just drop by and give us a sense of the style, colour and look you are after and we can make up something beautiful for you at a very good price. Usually it's only a few dollars more than the cost of materials. Call 604.882.1201 for more information.

Ponds

There is a lot of clean out at this time. Just keep at it. Fallen leaves and decaying plant material will release gasses into the water toxic to fish…especially when there is a layer of ice on the pond. Slow down your feeding and adjust the type of food as well for your fish as they begin to slow down with the cooler temperatures. Cut back decaying water plants. It's also time to blow out your irrigation too if you haven’t already.

Finally take a bit of time for yourself and check out some things in your community. There are often more than a few harvest festivals out there to enjoy. Don’t get too caught up in in your to-do list that you forget to stop and smell the fall air and the crunchy leaves. Also, its less than a month before eggnog lattes yay!!!

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle is a certified horticulturalist and Landscape designer. She is currently an up and coming apple guru, growing over 120 cultivars which explains her passion for edible garden design. Laurelle works part time for Art’s Nursery. You can also interact with her through Art’s monthly newsletter, our blog and our gardening channel on YouTube.


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