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Autumn –A Good Time For Yardwork – for Oct. 8, 2009

Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs, plant winter-hardy bulbs, control weeds and get the garden in shape for the next growing season.

Most trees and shrubs are available at retail stores in manageable containers that have the entire root system of the plant. Known as “container-grown” plants, they are placed into containers as seedlings or freshly grafted whips to grow to the size that has high customer appeal. The trees and shrubs are big enough to make an impact, but not too big to handle.

“The reason woody plants do so well in early-fall plantings is because they are not putting out any new aerial growth and the soil is still warm from the summer, which stimulates the roots to continue growing,” says Ron Smith, North Dakota State University Extension Service horticulturist. Different varieties of tulip and daffodil bulbs can be planted now for show next spring. While mail-order bulb catalogues abound on the market, consumers are better off selecting bulbs from local retail outlets because the choice is up to the consumer, not an employee. Also, consumers have to wait for the mail-order outlet to figure out when the best time for planting would be.

“If you thought you lost the battle this spring with the heavy flush of weeds, now is the ideal time to get some herbicide applied,” Smith says. “The weeds are in a much more vulnerable state than they were last spring, so the same herbicide applied last spring that seemed to give just a burn-down will be more effective at this time. In addition, collateral damage is all but eliminated due to no new growth emerging that is hypersensitive to even the vapours of many applied lawn herbicides.”

Smith advises that as the frost moves in and nips the garden vegetables for the last time, turn the garden soil over after the dead plants are removed. This will provide a cleaner and healthier surface to begin working on next spring.

“There are many good things to do horticulturally in the yard,” Smith says. Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of this favourable time to get outdoor plant work done.

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