Hastening through the prairie, rustling and rattling the tall grasses like a predator stalking her pray, Autumn slinks forward, lying in wait.  She will soon pounce and make herself known.

The official start of Autumn is merely a stone’s throw away, and it is a busy time in our yards and gardens.  Fall, which we in the green industry consider mid-August through early October, offers an ideal environment in which to plant as temperatures begin to fall, soil temperatures actually remain warm – warmer than in Spring.  Also, historically speaking, Fall brings more rain and far more pleasant temperatures in which to work outdoors.

Consider trees and shrubs.  Planting or transplanting in Fall puts less stress on the plants and allows them to develop their root systems, so when Spring arrives, they are at peak health.

In addition to planting fall favorites, like Mums, Kale, and Pansies, spring blooming perennials as well as late-blooming perennials, like Aster, Coneflower, and Rudbeckia can also be planted.

Spring blooming bulbs, like Tulips, Iris, Daffodils, and Hyacinths absolutely must be planted now.

Lawns, whether renovated or started anew, also benefit from the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall.  Seeding, in Illinois, should be completed August 15 through September for optimal results.  Soil temperatures, cooler air temperatures, and rain ensure good seed germination with less competition from weeds.  Sod can also be laid almost up until the first frost.

Consider wrapping young ornamental and shade trees to combat sun scald and frost cracks, in addition to rodent damage.  The trunk should be wrapped from the soil line up to the first branches.

Don’t turn your back on your vegetable garden just yet.  Cool season veggies, like carrots, lettuce, peas, radish, spinach, and broccoli can be planted, and some gardeners swear their taste gets sweeter as the nights get cooler.

Late Summer/early Fall can be likened to a second Spring, and in some instances, Fall is an even better time to plant and renovate.  Contact Sweeney’s today to schedule your plantings, aerations, lawn renovations, tree wrapping, etc.  Haven’t you waited long enough?

Plant of the Week

Butterfly Julia Coneflower

Large, fragrant, tangerine hued flowers that soften to a golden-yellow as they age, bloom June – October on strong, well branched stems.  Prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 12-18″ tall and 12-18″ wide.  Attracts butterflies and bees.  Drought tolerant and deer resistant.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

-Albert Camus

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney