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Fall season means gardening season

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record Staff
David Clark (left) and John Barrett in front of the Park City Nursery
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Each day is shorter than the last, winter looms while the sun is plummeting lower and lower on the horizon, the nights will soon bring the first frost.

In one week, fall is officially here.

What does that mean?

It’s time for gardening, of course.

"People think it’s over," said David Clark, manager at the Park City Nursery, "but it’s a prime-time for planting and re-seeding."

To get a head start on spring and summer plant growth, now is the time to create a foundation for next year’s garden.

"The fall is for root growth, it’s the most important time to establish roots and the spring is for leaves and branches," Clark said. "If they don’t plant now, a lot of their plants won’t be as glorious next year. You can plant trees all the way until the ground is frozen."

The Park City Nursery is busy with its shovels throughout most of the year.

"We don’t recommend planting only in the fall, we plant from the spring, through the summer and fall until the snow flies," said John Barrett, who also manages the nursery.

However, if trees, shrubs or flowers haven’t been given a dirt home yet, now is the time.

"Planting sooner is always better," Clark said. "The plants will develop strong roots as they start in the fall and through the winter."

There are other incentives to doing yardwork in the fall. New plants don’t require the continual watering that plants do in the summer.

"The fall is cooler than in the summer and people have more motivation to plant," Barrett said, "and it takes less maintenance."

With frost approaching any time, Clark recommends some safety measures to keep current flower beds vibrant.

"It’s going to frost soon," Clark said. "Put a frost cloth over your flower beds, it’s a good precaution if they want flowers to keep blooming."

Certain garden foliage benefits more from fall planting. Clark recommends starting spring bulb gardens now.

Spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the fall to provide the time required for spring blooms. Clark suggests planting bulbs when the soil is temperature is less than 56 degrees. Pansies, asters and blooming mums all benefit from being planted now, he said.

Gardeners can purchase a wide selection of bulbs at the nursery. They are organized by color and style for the ease of the customer. There are also many bulbs available that repel deer, perfect for the Parkite. Clark also said to plant wildflower seeds and native grasses just before the snow sticks to the ground.

"It’s time to get these in now for spring bloom," Clark said.

The soil should also be prepared for bulbs. There are many available compost items left over from the summer season. Fallen leaves, grass clippings from the lawn mower all can make for effective compost materials to give the bulbs the best chance for survival and a healthy root system.

Clark said people should start thinking about blowing out their sprinkler systems. Property owners can also sign up to have their systems checked in the spring.

Right now the nursery is selling many fall items such as wreaths and hard-scaping materials. Wood, metal and pottery is 20 percent off Clark said.

Lawns also need some work. Clark advises people to aerate, fertilize and winterize their lawns. Aeration allows "greater movement of water, fertilizer, and air which stimulates healthy turf," according to Lowe’s Web site. "Aerating also increases the speed of decomposition of the grass clippings and enhances deep root growth." Clark says to use Milorganite, winterizer and gypsum to fertilize and prepare lawns for winter.

Rodents also create havoc with lawns. The nursery recommends spreading vole repellent to protect from voles and moles during the winter.

The Park City Nursery also advises people to wilt-proof all evergreen trees to protect form winter burn. Spruce trees should be sprayed for tip weevil. Pruning trees and shrubs may be done carefully. Dead or diseased areas should be cut off according to Clark, but foliage owners should be wary.

"Leave the ends on the plants for protection throughout the winter and prune in spring," Barrett said.

In the first weekend of Oct., the nursery will celebrate its own Oktoberfest. Many items will be on sale throughout the nursery. Pumpkins, gourds corn stalk and Indian corn will be available for fall decorations. There will also be hot cider, face painting and food.

For more information on gardening tips or supplies, call the Park City Nursery at 649-1363.

The Park City Nursery Fall Checklist (end of Sept. through Oct.):

*Fertilize and winterize lawn, trees and beds with milorganite, winterizer and gypsum.

*Wilt-proof all evergreens to protect from winter burn.

*Plant bulbs don’t forget the repellex and bulb food.

*Plant wildflower seed and native grasses.

*Put down vole repellent to protect lawn from winter damage

*Spray spruce trees for tip weevil.

*Sign up for sprinkler blowout.

*Make sure trees and plants go into winter being moist, but not wet or dry.


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