Friday, October 28, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - October 28, 2016

At the nursery, an arrival of balled and burlapped trees of Maple and some American Elm (shown below) have added to stock for the fall and next spring. Most likely very few of theses beautiful trees will be sold this fall as still there is a perception that spring planting is superior. With a few exceptions, almost any plant may be fall planted to get a headstart on root growth that will push out new growth of the plant’s above ground parts. Spring planting is superior with species with fleshy root systems such as dogwoods and magnolias except if the trees are already dug or potted which would not disturb the fleshy roots as would digging them out of the ground. Many trim fleshy roots when cut in the fall have a tendency to rot and otherwise deteriorate when they are fall dug , or dug too early in spring. Dogwoods, magnolias and fragrant viburnum tend to thrive with transplanting performed just before growth is ready to begin which in most years is between April 1st and April 15th.

Much of the container stock at the nursery is now put away in the over-wintering huts and is still available for purchase throughout November although it will be more difficult to view once the huts are covered next week. Balled and burlapped trees and container trees in the ground sockets will brave the winter as the roots will be in the ground shielded from the worst of the winter cold.
The worst enemies of the stock during winter storage are rabbits that may dig into the warm houses to eat bark and stems of shrubs and the ever present mice that can gnaw through the bottom of a plastic plant pot to access the root system of a numerous variety of shrubs and perennials.  Even in winter, the plants need to be babysat.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - October 21, 2016

After a taste of Indian summer last week, the cooler rainy weather has returned that is probably more typical for October. The leaf show is at its peak affect, albeit it does seem later than usual.

Once clue of the later than usual turning of the leaves this fall is the Autumn Blaze Maple planted near the equipment barn in 1998.

Every year, the tree has begun to display its brilliant red fall color late September with the finale of a bare tree around October 20th. This hybrid tree (Silver Maple x Red Maple) this year on October 21st is just past its prime in coloration.

Other Maples such as the Sugar Maple and Red Maple at the nursery are only now in full color as they typically turn color later then the Autumn Blaze cultivar.

My favorite tree for statue and fall color though is the slow growing Sugar Maple that is the favorite tree for sap collection in order to process sap into maple syrup. The orange, yellow and red on the Sugar Maple at the time of the year make a spectacular show over a wide swath of the Northeast United States.

Fall color are enhanced by frosts intensifying the various pigments in the leaves to yield one of the most spectacular fall display in the world!

At the nursery, a gigantic Sugar Maple at the edge of the woods stands out among other trees.

Sadly, it’s twin was cut down about six years ago, because of the rotting of its heartwood that would have caused this tree to fall at any time.

Counting the growth rings on the remaining stump, the grand maple was born in 1905.
Only the Red Maple next to the old house is older because of its presences in a photograph from 1890 when it was a “baby” of only ten feet!

Fall fertilizing can now commence on all varieties of trees and shrubs in the landscape before root growth shuts down in late November.

The timing of the fertilizer is late enough in that it will not push new growth that would be susceptible to winter kill. Tree and shrubs planting and transplanting can now be accomplished which will give these fall planted plants a head start compared to spring planted ones.

Falling leaves literally are like gold for the garden when they can be incorporated into the soil after being composted for several months.

In fact, several nurseries in Lake County Ohio have a leaf deposit area so that homeowners will drop their unwanted leaves that the nursery men can then incorporate into the ground to improve the “health” of the sandy soil.

Next week the nursery stock will be gathered into over-wintering houses so that the plants can be covered with over-wintering white plastic in early November.

Just how did the year go by so fast!


Friday, October 14, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - October 14, 2016

It’s finally happened, the frost has come although it has been very light here at the nursery. With this first frost about October 10th week, the growing season is officially over and the date coincides with the historical average of northern Ohio’s first frost. The cooler temperatures and frost has greatly accelerated the coloring of the fall foliage and so much so that an almost daily change is noticeable.
Mum time is beginning to wind down at the nursery although there is still a broad selection of trees, shrubs and some perennials that will remain on display at least through the weekend of October 22nd and after which the stock will be moved to overwintering houses before being  presented again in the spring.

Rooted cuttings from azaleas have been transferred to 4½” pots filled with Canadian Sphagnum peat that will enable these small plants (only taken as unrooted cuttings late last July) to grow in the greenhouse until June. Then these plants will be potted to a trade 1½ gallon pot that will become saleable in the spring of 2018 with a 3 gallon size available in the fall of 2018.

Poinsettias are just showing a hint of color with October’s increasingly shorter days with Cyclamen planted in mid July starting to bloom as well in colors of red, purple, pink and white.

Time is moving quite fast so that we must move fast as well to complete all the new projects and regular chores before the snow is fixed on the ground.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - October 7, 2016

For the first week of October the weather by all accounts is perfect! The plentiful sunshine and warm, but not overly hot temperatures makes for a great planting season and simply enjoying the weather. Last week’s rainfall of at least 2 plus inches that fell slowly over a few days time finally put the damper on last summers drought conditions.

Most chrysanthemums are bursting forth now in their full glory although the Cheryl varieties from Yoders is just showing color when normally this series would be in full bloom now.

Planting at the nursery is still in swing with the arrival of Helleborus and peonies from Michigan and geranium plugs (as they are called) to plant into 2 gallon nursery containers to use as stock plants for taking cuttings in order to produce more plants.

Just freshly dug last week from Lake County, Ohio are gorgeous, true blue Baby Blue Colorado Spruce that are eerily uniform. This seed collection has been developed over several years time in Canada and was selected for its intense blue color. In fact, once the trees receive one or two trims to shape them at a very young age they are left on their own to develop beautifully.

No doubt a frost is near but as the legend goes, this good weather is not an Indian Summer as that must wait until after a hard frost.

Happy Fall