Tips to help your garden flourish, even while the leaves fall off the trees

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By Katelyn Doggett

Fall is officially here, bringing crisp weather and plans of bundling up inside, but many people might not know that fall is one of the best times of year for planting. VW’s Home and Garden assistant gardening center manager Mike DeLancey shares his tips for fall gardening that will make your yard look great now and help to prepare for spring.

Why plant in the fall

Fall is great for planting because the cooler weather is gentle on plants, the ground is still warm from the summer, allowing roots to grow, the days are shorter and the rain has returned so plants won’t need to be watered as often, DeLancey said. Plants that are planted in the fall will root out nicely during the winter and be ready just in time for spring. Planting in the fall often leads to being half a year ahead and ready for spring blooms, he said.

What to plant

While DeLancey said that most anything can be planted in the fall, he recommends planting fall annuals such as chrysanthemums, pansies, cabbage and kale. The best perennials to plant during this time of year are Echinacea and heuchera, which are available in a variety of colors and return year after year.

Fall is the best time to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Many bulbs require a chilling period, so planting in the fall before the ground freezes allows for the bulbs to be ready in time for spring. Bulbs are an easy, rewarding way to get colorful spring blooms, DeLancey said.

Control weeds

September and May are the best times to control weeds, DeLancey said. With the change of weather, weeds grow quickly due to living in new conditions. Weeds are most susceptible to weed killer now since it works best on actively growing weeds. Killing weeds now puts your yard and garden in a better place come spring.

Fertilize the yard

Lawns are depleted of nutrients from the hot, dry summer weather so it needs to be fed in order to recover. Fertilizing helps to build roots during the winter and leads to a fresh, green yard in the spring. DeLancey said if you only fertilize your lawn once per year, fall is the best time to do it.

Call VW’s Home and Garden at 360/366-3906 with any questions. VW’s is located at 8210 Portal Way in Blaine.

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