Laura Lee Rose, Horticulture Agent – County Coordinator
Continue with the gardening chores you didn’t finish last month. It is still an excellent time to plant woody trees and shrubs. Plant ones grown in small containers (one- or three-gallon) as they will establish as well, if not better than larger ones, at a fraction of the cost and effort. Do not use nitrogen fertilizer at planting because the nursery or grower should have already done it. Soil testing in the fall will indicate if there are deficiencies or if the pH needs adjusting. Use compost and /or mulch, but amendments in the planting hole are usually unnecessary.
It is always all right to prune out vigorous sprouts and dead or diseased branches but save heavy pruning until late February or March. Pruning can stimulate plant growth, and we don’t want to encourage a flush in the fall that may not have a chance to harden off. For the same reason, you should wait until spring to fertilize.
Spray for Camellia tea scale before blooms break. Replace mulch only if the shrub is badly infested, and then it might need to be raked out and refreshed. There are some lovely blooming perennials and large shrubs in late fall. Swamp sunflowers, goldenrod, fall Cassia, and Cassia splendens are cheerfully blooming with salvias, Confederate rose, and Camellia sasanqua.
You can still divide perennials and keep winter annuals deadheaded. Pansies are heavy feeders and will bloom better with additional fertilizer: blood meal, cottonseed meal, or fish meal can be side dressed around the crowns. For containers, use a blooming fertilizer and water it in a well.
Keep up with watering if we don’t get an inch of rain a week. In the vegetable garden during the cool season, vegetables can still be planted. November is the month to plant garlic and sweet peas (not edible).
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