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Georgia clipping – Times

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014 6:01 pm

Georgia clipping

Eddie Seagle

Thomasville Times-Enterprise

“I step outside and the chilly air tightens the skin on my bare arms. Summer has ended all too quickly, and some of the leaves on the trees have already started to burn with the colors of fall. Fall colors…. so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.”

— Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference.

What a difference a few days make. Cooler temps are on the horizon, but a warming trend is likely to follow for a few days. Welcome November and enjoy the month as you go about your various activities. November is another month for playing in the yard while completing effective plantings in the landscape. The weather outside is comfortable, yet cool enough to encourage plants to transition well into their new landscape homes. Check the soil for necessary preparation and proper drainage and make the necessary adjustments before installing any new plant materials. Your landscape checklist this month should include the following items.

Azaleas: Azaleas can bloom from late winter into early summer, depending on type. To extend the season, plant early-, mid-, and late-season bloomers in the landscape. During the selection process, give consideration to flower color, projected mature size of adult plants, and their season of bloom. For example, southern Indian hybrids and Glenn Dale hybrids are medium to tall shrubs, sometimes growing 8-12 feet tall. Gumpo azaleas seldom exceed three feet in height, but may have a spread of five feet or more. Southern Indian hybrids and Glenn Dale hybrids bloom in early to mid-spring, while Gumpos make their show in May and June. Always make those choices giving successive bloom dates, thus extending the blooming season.

Also, the “Red Ruffles” Rutherford hybrid is early-blooming and grows to 2-4 feet tall and needs mid-day shade. The “George Lindley Taber” southern Indica hybrid offers midseason blooms and reaches 4-6 feet in height. The “Sherwood Red” and “Coral Bells” Kurume hybrids bloom early to mid-season bloom and get 2-4 feet tall. The Spider Azalea is very rare and blooms early to mid-season and grows 4-6 feet tall. The “Gumpo Pink” Satsuki hybrid blooms late season with 1-2 feet in height. The “Pride of Mobile” southern Indica hybrid is a mid-season bloomer and reaches 4-6 feet in height. In addition, always consider using the native azaleas which are a good fit for this area.

Dahlias: After frost has killed the tops of dahlias, cut back the stalks to about three inches above the ground level. A week later, dig the tubers and dry them in the sun for a few days. After drying, use a fungicide, and store in mesh bags in a cool, dry environment for their winter home. Before planting next spring, divide each clump to tubers containing a growth bud and discard the central portion of the plant.

Equipment: Sprinklers and hoses can be destroyed if they contain water when freezing temperatures arrive. Drain and properly store them in a protected area to insure full utilization next spring. Properly service your power equipment and mowers in preparation for winter storage.

Hardscapes: The weather still promotes the development of your ideas for sidewalks, courtyards, patios, gazebos, etc. Such areas can become most enjoyable and useful as one season passes to the next one.

Houseplants: Plants brought outside for the summer need extra care while they acclimate and re-adjust to the indoors where light and air flow will be very critical. Acclimate them from their outdoor home to their new indoor home by parking them in transition setting (carport or garage) for a couple of weeks. Once inside, check their placement to insure their safety from the potential harmful air flow of heating ducts and exterior doorways. Also, be sure they are receiving sufficient lighting. Dust off large-leaved plants, such as saddle leaf philodendron, to prevent the build-up of dust and grime on the leaf surface which will interfere with effective photosynthesis and ultimately, plant health.

Mulch: Replinish mulch in flower beds and around shrubs and trees. Add enough pine straw, pine bark, or other organic material to make a layer 3 to 4 inches thick. Consider removing the old mulch to improve air flow and exchange between soil and atmosphere and to minimize disease and insect habitats.

Nursery stock: New shipments of ornamentals should continue to arrive at local nurseries since the fall planting season has begun. Current inventories offer a larger number of choices. Take the time to peruse local inventories and note the choices available. Read all about your choices on the plant label and also look them up on the internet. Learn as much as you can about the plants you choose before you purchase them. With several months to become established, when planted and maintained properly, the plants should be very healthy in the spring.

Outdoor containers: Keep empty pots, urns and other clay or ceramic containers turned upside down so that water will not collect in them and freeze, causing breakage. If containers are too large to be moved, you can still keep them from collecting water and add some landscape interest in the process. Just insert nursery stock, pot and all, in the containers for the season. Fill in around the potted plant with wood chips or other mulching material to insulate the roots against freezing.

Propagation: Take cuttings from deciduous plants such as crape myrtle, forsythia, spirea, and flowering quince for immediate propagation.

Transplanting: Begin moving shrubs that were root pruned earlier in the late summer in preparation for transplanting. Have new planting holes prepared before actually digging the subject plant to insure ease of process effectiveness and minimal damage to the plant. Avoid transplanting on windy days so that roots will not be exposed to excessive drying winds. After transplanting, selectively prune about one-third of the plant to compensate for root damage. Water thoroughly, and apply a mulch of pine straw, wood chips, or shredded bark. Water regularly during dry periods to encourage rapid re-establishment of the plants.

Trees: If growing trees is your forte, consider the fastest growing trees such as weeping willow, Cleveland pear, lacebark elm, or golden raintree. For winter deciduous beauty, use the ginkgo (male), dogwood, maple, river birch or sweetgum (male). And, for winter evergreen attraction, use sweet bay, southern magnolia, or cherry laurel.

As you further plan and install your landscaping this season, continue enjoy the fall color and think in terms of sustainability, maintenance, and curb appeal. Also, take measures to protect your furry friends (pets) – do not leave them out at night in the colder temperatures as the month passes. And, as always, remember to feed and water the birds!

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” 1 Peter 1 24-25.

Seagle is a Sustainability Associate, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturalist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International), Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and Associate Editor of The Golf Course, International Journal of Golf Science. Direct inquiries to

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Friday, October 31, 2014 6:01 pm.

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