I've already started getting my houseplants ready for their journey back into the house. I'm cleaning the outside of the pots with the hose, and then putting them in a shady area where they can acclimate to lower light. I've pruned them and I'm checking for insects. (Although I didn't do a very great job on a plant that I've already brought in. My daughter and I chased an errant grasshopper all over the house after he hitched a ride in on my Tahitian Bridal Veil (Gibasis geniculata).
The cool temperatures and abundant rainfall of autumn make fall a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Plant early enough in the fall for the plants to develop a good root system, and water thoroughly to supply about 1 inch of water per week. Water until ground is frozen, even after leaves have fallen.
According to the Purdue University Consumer Horticulture Department (www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/falltreeplanting.html), "some species of plants do not adapt well to fall planting because they are unusually susceptible to winter damage. Magnolia, dogwood, tulip tree, sweet gum, red maple, birch, hawthorn, poplars, cherries, plum and many of the oaks are among the plants that are best saved for spring planting."
The Web site says that the risk is often justified, however, because of the exceptional bargains to be found in the fall. "Many garden centers are motivated to sell the stock because of the expense of keeping the plants over winter."
Slugs bugging you?
Judy Thomas of Dawes called to ask if I was troubled by slugs and snails in the garden. My hostas always seem a bit chewed-upon, I told her, and so we both are looking for a way to stop the slugs and snails from feasting on our plants. Judy tells me she's tried Bug-Geta by Ortho with limited success, as it must be reapplied frequently. Does anyone have another solution?
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 348-1249.