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Adult gardening classes begin at Gardens on Green
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Hall County Extension Agent Michael Wheeler talks to 15 local gardeners Wednesday at Gardens on Green, kicking off a monthly series of meetings to discuss ways to improve gardens. - photo by Photos by NAT GURLEY

Time stands for no man, least of all a gardener.

So the Hall County Master Gardeners and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in Hall County have teamed to offer tips and time-specific strategies for maintaining a healthy garden throughout the year.

Gardening by the Month for Adults is offered from noon to 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at Gardens on Green. The program kicked off under the shade trees on a sunny afternoon Wednesday.

UGA Cooperative County Extension Coordinator Michael Wheeler and Wanda Cannon, master gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant with the county extension office, presented a program to a group of 15 gardeners.

Wheeler said the goal is to talk about "a little bit of everything" that gardeners need to know for each specific month. The class is designed with beginning gardeners in mind.

Wheeler began by explaining the fall season is the best time to plant trees and shrubs.

"Trees and shrubs shut down up top, but they pretty much grow all year-round," he said. "So the earlier you get trees and shrubs in the ground, the better off they’ll be."

The idea, he said, is to give trees ample time to establish a strong root system in the winter months so they will be more likely to survive come summer. He suggested when planting trees or bushes, gardeners take their time choosing a variety and finding an ideal location to meet the needs of the trees and create a desired look.

He added fall is a good time to start thinking about and preparing to plant fruiting trees. When planting the tree, the hole should only be as deep as the root ball. It is better for the roots to be too high than too deep. The hole should be about two to three times as wide as the root ball to allow the feeder roots ample room to establish.

Wheeler said generally it’s not a good idea to augment the soil with fertilizers.

"We always debate whether to augment the soil or not with individual plants," Wheeler said. "We say not to because you’re going to make that plant not want to explore its new native soil. You kind of want to make it hard on the plant so it has to reach outward and establish a root system."

Wheeler said September is also a good time to seed lawns with Fescue seeds, allowing the grass time to establish its root systems, too.

Wheeler and Cannon also discussed preparing houseplants and tropical plants for life indoors throughout the cooler months. The start of the fall season is a good time to trim back some lengthy branches on tropical plants. When bringing tropical plants inside, gardeners may want to consider replanting in a new pot to avoid bringing in insects. The plants should be kept in the sun away from heat sources.

Cannon said most people don’t realize September is the ideal time to get gardens ready for the coming seasons.

"This time of year is really your first step in getting gardens ready for spring and summer," Cannon said. "I don’t think a lot of people know, they think spring is the when you do that but now is the best time."