KUSA - Many crops are beginning to ripen. The latest of the fruits are pears and apples. Picking them is a race with squirrels. It's wise to harvest them before they're quite ripe and allow them to fully ripen safely indoors.
Hand fruit--especially pears--carefully as you pick it. Pears are vulnerable to bruising.
Early fall is a good time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. The soil is still warm but the daytime temperatures have moderated. This allows the roots to settle in without heat stress.
Dig a hole several inches wider than the root ball. Set the top of the root ball at a grade, completely level with the surrounding soil. Fill in the hole and mix it with compost if your soil is claylike or very sandy. Do not stomp in the soil with your feet. This only squeezes out the air and compacts the soil.
Use your mud pie skills to form a moat of the excess soil around the plant. Form it out of wet soil and build it about three or four inches high. Water the plant thoroughly; let the hose trickle slowly until it fills the moat. Continue watering regularly throughout fall and into winter if necessary. Winter watering is especially important for young trees and shrubs, especially if snowfall is inadequate. The moat will eventually erode. By then the roots of the new tree or shrub should be well-established.
Shrubs that we planted today include Hydrangea 'Annabelle' and Viburnum 'Brandywine.' 'Annabelle' is a smooth hydrangea variety found growing in an old garden in Annabelle, Illinois. It bears white "snowball" flowers in late spring and early summer. They age to pale chartreuse and look great well into fall. It grows to about three feet tall and is very hardy in our climate. It grows best in partial shade. 'Brandywine' viburnum also grows best in partial shade and grows to four or five feet in height. White spring flowers are followed by striking blue and pink berries against the red autumn foliage.
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