It’s the beginning of fall, and our gardening experts are here to answer your questions. What are the best methods to transplant your plants? What plants will do best now that summer is over? How can you store your vegetables after harvest?
This week on Noon Edition, we’ll answer these questions and more during our annual fall gardening show.
Here are six questions are guests answered in our show:
This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Is is a good practice to mulch over perennial beds for the winter? And if so what are the options?
May: Leaves only if you can throw them through a grinder. You don’t want big, flat packs of wet leaves especially leaves lives maple and sycamore that are large and hold a lot of water, but some mulch, even in the form of leaves, is a good idea. Generally a couple inches of stuff like bark or peat or compost or whatever you want to use, and again, clean the bed up, cut back dead tops, and come up around and not over.
Should the leftover standing plant material be removed in perennial beds?
May: It depends, most generally you can cut back once it looks dead for the season. There are a few things you might not want to cut back, but certainly if there’s any green growth on irises, you leave it. There’ll be some green at the base of a lot of perennials, so you want to be sure and leave that.
What are some methods or materials that will prevent weed growth?
May: I don’t recommend black plastic, and I don’t recommend that landscaping fabric. Your best bet is to get the bed cleaned up and mulch it with something a couple inches deep. And you want to stay on top of it, that is don’t let weeds grow up and go to seed.
Is there a good rule of thumb by how much you can trim something like a yew bush?
Adamson: A yew bush, first of all, you’re not going to hurt it. You can cut them to about any point, and most evergreens can be trimmed back rather drastically.
What is happening to spruce trees in Bloomington?
Adamson: Well, there’s a major, major spruce disease in this area, the Colorado Spruce particularly, I’m afraid is going to be wiped out. It’s really bad, and you see it every place in this area. But they are developing some new varieties that are resistant to it that are coming in from Oregon.
What does partial-shade mean?
Adamson: Some plants prefer morning shade, some plants don’t prefer the hot sun, so morning sun is ideal for them. And you will find they will flower better if they get morning sun, shade in the afternoon.
Helen May, retired co-owner of May’s Green House
Don Adamson, retired Bloomington Valley Nursery Manager