Hickory Farms Newsletter – October 2015

Dear garden friend!

………………………please enjoy my newsletter for October.

Last month I spoke of the beautiful days and mentioned that rain will surely be coming. We’re still waiting!

Actually, at this point, it’s best not to wait. While many plants are shutting down and using less moisture, it’s not good for them to “freeze dry”. I’d suggest soaking anything that was just planted this year. Even established plantings would benefit from a good soaking at this point. Maybe even your lawn! I’ve pointed out before that there’s a fine line between dormant lawns and dead lawns. It’s OK for your grass to go brown for a while in summer but we’re approaching drought conditions and the grass is stressing.

A lawn sprinkler is fine for watering grass. But for your trees and shrubs it’s best to target the water at the base of the plant. For trees far from your house you might consider placing a 5 gallon bucket at the base of the tree. Drill a few tiny holes in the bottom and fill it with water a couple times. Of course carrying a bucket full of water with holes in it from your house to the tree could be a problem. If you’ve got some 2.5 gallon jugs, they are great for carrying the water. You might put a hole in the top of these jugs, then you can just tip them over at the tree for watering.

All that being said, this is truly a great time of year. I love the crisp mornings, warm afternoons, evenings by a crackling campfire, apple cider, pumpkin pie and, of course, the blazing orange Sugar Maples! Sugar Maples, while a great and beautiful tree are not common in our flat, poorly drained soil. They are more typically found on higher ground with good drainage. The “sugar camps” in Logan County attest to that. The Red Maple is more commonly found as a street or lawn tree around here. They are more tolerant of our heavy, poorly drained soils. Of course, Red Maple has a deep red fall color. I’m not talking about the “Crimson King” Norway maple which is purple all summer and a “different animal” altogether.

One last note: If you are considering moving any shrubs or trees, this is a good time. You want to move trees in the dormant season for best results. It would be best to water them first and wait until they drop their leaves before cutting their roots. Cutting the roots of a leafy plant will just cause wilting and probably death. I’m often asked “when’s the best time to plant?”. You can plant any time the ground is not frozen……………………… if the plants are already dug and above ground. But transplanting is another story. Trees should only be dug when they are dormant. This will stunt the flushing of new growth in the spring, conserving moisture while the plant adapts to its new location.

Happy fall!

Mike Epp