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Gardening with Wanda

A common question asked of the Hall County Extension office, brought to you by Wanda Cannon

POSTED: September 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.

There are many advantages for planting in the fall. Living in Georgia usually guarantees year-round gardening fun. What are the advantages?

Save water

Fall planting uses less water than planting in other seasons. In the landscape, a great way to save water is to plant in the cooler season.

Develop healthy roots

Trees and shrubs planted in the fall have less stress and more success. Their root systems are able to develop and thrive with lower temperatures and their demands for water are lower. Roots do not go dormant in the winter. Roots keep growing, but the demand from the actual plant itself is lowered and instead, the plant's energy can be funneled to the establishment of the root system. That's good news because when spring arrives, the plant's root system is thriving.

Fertilize lightly

In most cases, planting in the fall can be done without fertilizer. But a light application of fertilizer will give plants the added nutrients over winter. Use about half of the amount you would use in the spring, because you do not want to stimulate new growth in case of a freeze. Wait until October or November when the plant is dormant.

Try container gardening

Container gardening can also be a popular fall garden activity. While we see a lot of containers in the spring and summer, fall- and winter-planted annuals can provide color in your containers. Some summer annuals that do well in the fall are impatiens, begonias, coleus and geraniums. Winter annuals, such as pansies, violas and dianthus, will provide robust color until warm weather.

Mulch, mulch, mulch

Applying mulch in landscape beds, such as pine straw, can help prevent soil erosion from winter rains. Other mulches are compost and pine bark. Mulches usually are in good supply and are reasonably priced during this time of year.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293



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