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Proctor's Garden: Fall is for planting

Look at fall as an opportunity to make next year's garden better. It is a great time to start planting.

DENVER — Fall is an opportunity to make next year's garden better. It's a great time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. The soil is still warm so that the roots can become established before winter arrives. It's easier for the roots to take hold in fall than in spring, when the soil is still cold.

There's also less stress on the plants because we've probably seen the last of really hot days. Fall's moderate temperatures are ideal for plants to settle in. This also benefits dividing and transplanting perennials. They can be lifted and divided, and then re-planted in new locations. Plant them at the level at which they were growing and form a moat around them to hold water. Keep the transplants moist.

Pansies also benefit from fall planting. They're great in pots or in the ground. They thrive in cool weather and will often persist over winter and make a spring sow. Start fertilizing pansies right away with a bloom booster. In a few weeks they'll start to bloom prolifically and can be used on patios and porches for Halloween and Thanksgiving decor. 

Mums can also be planted in pots or in the ground, although they'll likely not survive the winter in pots. If they're in pots, lift them after they finish blooming and plant them in the ground. 

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