Although many of us paid dearly for fall planting this past year, fall is still one of the best times, if not the best, to plant in many areas. Unless there is a bad wind problem or a very early winter, fall planted plants have a chance to get started next spring and maybe even this fall. That puts them a couple of jumps ahead when the hot dry weather comes next summer. If in doubt, try it. In case you are afraid the ground will freeze up, put on two or three inches of mulch. It is amazing how much such a mulch slows up the penetration of frost into the ground.
Have you ever noticed in digging out dead shrubs, evergreens or trees, how often the roots have never really started to grow? Much of this was your fault for not giving the plants better drainage and better soil to grow in.
Did you ever check to see how the folks who are always winning the big prizes at the rose shows plant their roses? They are never satisfied to just dig a hole big enough to take the roots. They prepare soil to a depth of at least 18 inches. Many of them are not satisfied with just preparing the soil in the hole. They prepare the whole bed. No wonder their roses out-produce most others. I still like that old saying – dig a dollar hole for a 50 cent plant. Another backyard landscaping ideas tips at no charge – prepare the soil.
Never be satisfied with the soil you have. Always improve it by mixing plenty of organic matter and fertilizer with the soil that goes back into the hole. The better aerated it is, the better the new roots will grow out into it.
And since fertilizer goes mostly downwards and never sideways or upwards it pays to mix the fertilizer thoroughly with all the soil. The kind of fertilizer is not important as long as it is a complete one with at least 20 units of nutrients.
There is a growing trend today to have a separate fertilizer for everything, one for roses, another for African violets, and still another for garden flowers. Don’t tell anyone, but I use the same fertilizer on everything. Never yet have any of my plants complained. We really cannot tell that one plant needs this, another that unless we run an extremely delicate tissue test. Only a few experiment stations can do that. Even then we do not know what the exact needs are of the vast majority of our ornamental plants.
Have you learned to make use of whatever organic matter you can pick up the cheapest? There is still an enormous amount of sawdust going to waste all over the country. If you do not like it when it is light colored just pile it up, wet it down, add a little fertilizer and the bacteria will soon darken it for you. If it is very fine it is inclined to shed water. But if you mix it with rotted leaves, chopped corn cobs or other coarse material it will let the rain and other water go through to reach the soil beneath.
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