Ask the Geeks
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We love this time of the growing season. The mad rush of spring is over and we’re usually past the worst of summer’s heat. The garden tours are over, the cicadas are whining and the water in Lake Michigan is finally warm enough to swim in. Plant geeks, and non-geeks too, can breathe a bit more easily. Garden centers get asked for lots of advise now and one of summer’s most often asked questions is “Can I still plant perennials, or trees, or shrubs at this time of year?”
The answer is a resounding, but qualified “Yes!”. We landscapers will be planting nursery stock into late fall, and you can as well, but first you need to ask yourself the simple question “What kind of gardener am I?”
Planting in the gentle days of spring can be as easy as slipping a spade into freshly turned soil. When Mother Nature cooperates, everything seems to work in our favor. The days are bright enough to warm both hearts and buds, the rain falls regularly with none of a thunderstorm’s ferocity and though it can be windy, that air circulation helps to keep cool weather diseases at bay. So gardening can be a breeze. Site plants properly and the universe seems to take care of the rest.
Summer gardening often requires a gardener to really commit to the plants that are put into the ground. Perennials, trees and shrubs planted now will need a little intervention from us to establish properly before the frozen soil and frigid winds of winter. You’ll need to establish a regular watering schedule and be more diligent about scouting for pests. You should take care to amend the the soil if necessary and to mulch the planting area. Be ready to water until the ground starts to freeze, especially when planting evergreens. And hold off any fertilizing until next spring.
So if you are willing to invest the time, gardening really can be a year round activity, even in the frozen north. So take advantage of those late season’s marked down prices and plant with confidence!