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Skaggs: Fall expo can bring more color to garden
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Fall Garden Expo

When: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville
How much: Free

Fall is here, and dogwoods, redbuds and maples are hinting of the fall leaf season. But while you're making plans to admire the colorful foliage, why not plant your own fall color?

If you recently lost trees to the heavy rains and flooding, you may have room for new ones. Fall is the ideal time to plant trees, and the Fall Garden Expo is the ideal place to shop!

The 2009 Fall Garden Expo is set for today and Saturday at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

The purpose of the expo is to provide local residents with a unique opportunity to shop for locally produced garden products direct from the grower, garden center or dealer. You're sure to find some great deals and an outstanding selection.

Approximately 35 vendors are scheduled to be at the expo selling items such as specialty plants, natives, annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, power equipment, hand tools, garden art and lawn furniture. If you're looking for that hard-to-find plant or the latest in garden trends, a trip to the Fall Garden Expo will be worth the effort.

If you make it out to the expo, here are some trees to look for that offer outstanding fall color and season-long interest.

If I were putting together a gardening dictionary, the entry for "fall color" would have next to it a picture of the maples, adorned in their autumn colors of red, yellow and orange.

Among the native fall foliage trees, it is certainly the maples that bring out the most leaf-peepers to gaze at their spectacular autumn leaves. In particular, look for the red maple varieties October glory, red sunset and autumn blaze.

When we think of dogwoods, we immediately think, "flowering." And indeed, dogwoods put on an impressive display in spring with their flowering. But dogwoods also bear attractive fall leaves. Cornus florida is the native flowering dogwood tree in the U.S., commonly referred to simply as, "flowering dogwood tree," as if there were no other.

Also available is the Japanese or "kousa" dogwood (Cornus kousa). The white, star-shaped blooms appear later in spring than do the flowers on other dogwoods. Fall foliage is purplish-red. The red berries of kousa dogwood trees persist into winter and are eaten by wild birds.

The ginkgo is certainly attractive enough to function as a specimen plant, particularly because of its golden fall foliage.

Ginkgo trees are disease resistant and tolerate urban pollution. Their unique fan-shaped leaves start out green but morph into golden fall foliage.

Before the whole leaf turns golden, the leaf is two-toned, with separate bands of gold and green.

Fall is the perfect time to plant young trees, even as you enjoy the wonderful color of fall.

Planting in the fall will allow your new plantings to develop strong roots in the cooler fall soils.

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County extension coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.