On a recent trip to the Grange Co-op on S. Pacific Highway in Medford, I visited with Co-op staff member Drew who gave me lots of great ideas.
Soil temperatures are cooling so it’s a great time to plant trees so that their roots can get established and store energy they’re going to need to see them through the winter. In the next six months, they’ll actually get almost a year’s worth of root establishment.
Can you picture one of these Autumn Blaze, Red Point or Japanese Maples in your landscape? Dogwoods and Crape Myrtles show nicely in the fall too.
If you’re going to use a fertilizer, Drew from the Grange Co-op suggests one high in phosphorous that helps with the rooting and budding of plants. You know when you look at fertilizers and they generally have three numbers on them? He referred to these as indications of “up, down and all around.” The first number is the level of Nitrogen that’s in the fertilizer. It encourages leaves, stems and shoots to grow UP…to grow bigger. The second number represents the amount of phosphorous. Phosphorous aids in fruiting and budding. The last number is potassium, or pot ash. This is the “All Around” component that rounds out the fertilizer and assists plants in being healthier all around.
Any deciduous shrubs can be planted but again, for curb appeal, I’d go for ones with spectacular fall color like this Burning Bush Euonymus. AVOID the marginally hardy camellias, escallonias, Indian Hawthorne and figs. These need a full year in the ground before going into the cold and freezing months.
Pansies are it! They’ll provide fall and winter color. Mums bloom every fall and sometimes in the spring. It just depends on the weather from year-to-year. Asters are sturdy and drought tolerant.
If you lack patience and appreciate immediate gratification (like me), you may also want to consider planting a potted fruit tree right now. This Scarlett Sentinel Columnar Apple is good to go! Dwarf peach trees, cherries and nectarines are also good choices. All trees can benefit from a good root stimulator that will help the roots get established and the tree to grow faster.
Here’s the breakdown of what to plant now for harvest in late October into the beginning of December (at least, sometimes as late as Christmas):
- Swiss Chard
- Oriental Cabbages (bok choy, for example)
- Pees (plant now through the first of October only)
- Onion starts (for next spring)
I prefer to use the Grange Co-op and other local nurseries to give me pointers because they know the soil and the elements here. For those who prefer to find out information on fall gardening online, a couple of legit resources are the Rogue Valley Gardner and the September Garden Calendar on OSU’s Extension service website. These sites contain suggestions for fall maintenance and clean up, planting and propagation, and pest monitoring and management.
Most of all, have fun with this! I find getting my hands in the dirt to be a huge stress reliever and I LOVE to experience the “fruits of my labor.”