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The Perkins Journal
Perkins, Oklahoma
October 4, 2012     The Perkins Journal
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October 4, 2012

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Thursday, October 4, 2012 Nothing refreshes my%hina. This shrub appre- Spirit after a hot summer ciates a break from sum- like the brisk mornings of mer's hot sun for fall is autumn. While I haven't its season! Insignificant yet felt the excitement flowers that appeared in and expectation of holi days or found landscapes of autumn foliage--red and yellow, purple and orange combining forces for a grand finale before winter; the air is brisk and promises color. Here are some excellent shrubs to include in your plantings for a colorful autumn. Two common plants that bring out purplish hues are Forsythia and Callicarpa. Forsythia's leaves turn deep purple to black. It does not sound pretty, but in fact is. Spring follows early with clear yellow blooms lining the naked stems. Forsythia is very vigorous. Give it plentY of room to grow anddon't be afraid to prune after the bloom passes. Callicarpa, aka Beau- tyberry, is native to the eastern US, but varieties sold in nurseries are a species that originated in summer transform into brilliant violet berries. 'Profusion' sports large clusters of berries at each leaf node. Foliage also turns a light violet green. Callicarpa is truly a striking plant for woodland areas or partial shade borders. Another eastern US native, often overlooked, is Chokecherry. Aronia is a deciduous shrub that works well as a background planting. Two species are readily available, one with red fruit and one with black. Both have wonderful red and orange fall color and small fruit that birds later enjoy. Aronia melanocarpa, the black fruited variety grows to five feet tall. Its upright growth habit allows for foreground plantings of annual color or low-grow- ing perennials. Its fruit makes a great jam and is heaven for the birds! Many species, sizes and shapes of Viburnums are available for sun or shade. One of the most colorful is the common snowball bush. It takes the sun, blooms large, white, hydrangea-like flowers and takes on deep maroon foliage as autumn advances. Itea virginica brings out the red in fall color. Also native to the east- ern states, it grows three to four feet tall and up to six foot wide. Use this species as a background shrub. Unlike many deciduous plants, the colorful leaves will often remain on the branches two or more months. Frequently nurseries will offer the variety 'Little Henry'--a diminutive selection (2'x2') with all the great characteristics of its parent. Fothergilla is very similar to Itea in leaf, form and color, but adds fragrance when the spring blooms arrive. Cream colored blooms resem- bling a bottle brush, top each stem emit- ting a honey-like scent. Plant this one where it receives shade from the hot summer sun. Nandina domestica, aka Heavenly Bamboo, comes from the China and Japan, but has become a staple Callicarpa is truly a striking plant for woodland areas or partial shade borders. in American landscapes. The species will grow to ten feet tall and bear large clusters of red ber- ries through the winter. Numerous varieties are on the market ranging in mature height from two to four feet. In Humboldt, Nandina is mostly evergreen, allow- ing for reddish foliage throughout the winter. A tendency toward pow- dery mildew is its only weakness. 'Gulf Stream' and' Sunray' (both reach- ing 3'x3') show good mildew resistance. The new growth on these also exhibit color-- 'Sunray' a little more bronze, 'Gulf Stream' redder, Position them in a sunny spot and thin rather than sheer if size is an issue. One of my favorite yel- lows is Kerria japonica. This plant grows upright, spreading from below the ground, similar to some Spiraeas. The stems of Kerria are medium green, retaining this color through the sea- sons and into maturity. Placing a plant against a dark board fence or wall creates a beautiful focal point long after the bright yellow leaves have abundance early to mid spring. Landscape designers and savvy gardeners pay attention to foliage color when placing plants. They look for contrast- ing greens or highlight with a spot of maroon or yellow foliage. Though a plant may be chosen because it transforms brilliantly in fall, I don't think I have ever seen someone position plants so the fall colors are coordinated. Fall foli- age takes on a life of its falleni Most commonly own. Miraculously the available with doublesubtle hues and striking blooms, Kerria 'Pleni- reds blend into a master- flora' produces smallpiece without planning. golden "pom-poms" in Enjoy them! A's October rushes in Nith the north wind, consider the following suggestions for your landscape. The rains have brought much needed relief to our landscapes in the last few Weeks. It is amazing how many plants have responded nicely with additional growth and flushes of color. Keep in mind that drought conditions are far from over as our soil is still very dry just below the Surface. Continue to water stressed trees and woody ornamentals. All things considered, good start. October is the best plant- ing month for trees in our part Of the world, Fall planting allows the tree to establish a healthy root system before endur- ing its first Oklahoma summer. Exceptions to this would be bare root trees and broadleaf ever- greens such as hollies and southern magnolia. These plants should be planted in early spring. OSU Fact Sheet HLA- 6414 provides some very good information on proper planting and getting 'tr6es off to a their indoor winter stay. This is also a goodtime The most important to divide spring flowering perennials such as daylil- ies, daffodils, irises, and peonies. Peoniesdon't like to be disturbed so they should only be divided if the plants are showing decline from overcrowding. Water gardeners should consider covering their pond with bird netting to reduce the accumula- tion of tree leaves. Fish generally stop feeding when the water tem- perature approaches 50 degrees so any feeding can be discontinued as temperatures cool. Now is also the time to begin to prepare tropical arid other cold sensitive containerized plants for part of this exercise is to closely examine the plants (especially the underside of the leaves) for problem insects. A hand lens is very help- ful for this as pests like spider mites can be very difficult to spot. Begin by giving the plant a good clean-up, pruning off all damaged leaves and stems. Also remove any decomposing plant material lying on top of the soil. In addition to making insects easier to spot, this will eliminate the pest population that .may be feeding on this material. Two insects of particular concern are spider mites and mealy bugs. We will discuss By Trisha Gedon Plans are well under- way for the 11th Annual GardenFest, and this year's event promises even more fun and learn- ing opportunities than ever before. Slated Oct. 6 at The Botanic Garden at Okla- homa State University, GardenFest is combining the art world with garden- ing. This year's theme is Art in the Garden. Laura Payne, volun- teer coordinator at The Botanic Garden at OSU, "We're very excited to have all of the ven- dors and demonstrations available for those who come to GardenFest this year," Payne said. "It really makes it more of a festival atmosphere." Vendors will be show- casing products that range from stone and landscape materials, metal sculp- tures, and hand painted clothing, to pottery and acrylic paintings, hand woven baskets, repur, posed garden d6cor and home grown honey. flower arranging, pot- through the grounds. tery throwing and gourd This year's keynote painting. Guests also speaker will be W. Gary will have an opportunity to learn more about the art of bonsai as well as xeriscape gardening. These and other edu- cational programs led by OSU educators, Okla- homa artisans and The Botanic Garden Ambas- sadors will take place throughout the day. Sculptural works by Stillwater artist Morgan Robinson will be on display throughout the Smith, well-known for combining art and horticulture to explore ecological design and artistic abstraction. The Botanic Garden at OSU is located at 3300 West 6th Ave. in Stillwater. Events are free; however donations are encouraged to help support this educational program. For more information visit The Botanic Garden website these pests, along with control strategies, in detail next week. This is also a good time for preparing the soil for new garden beds. Last week we talked about site selection and beginning the bermu- dagrass removal process. Before soil preparation, a soil sample should be taken and analyzed. If the site has typically produced healthy plants and no problems are indicated, a basic soil test showing basic fer- tility needs and soil pH should be adequate. If plants have not done well on the site, or if the soil is especially poor, a more extensive analysis might be a good investment. The Payne County Exten- sion office provides this service. The cost of a basic sample is $10 with the fee increasing for a more extensive analysis. The results come back to our office where we make recommendations concerning fertility and pH needs. Surprisingly, a large number of sam- ples that are processed through our office come back showing a very low pH. To correct this, lime should be added to the soil. Doing this as soil tillage begins allows lime or fertilizer to be incor- porated easily into the soil, as opposed to just spreading it on the top. in Payne County are low in organic matter. In an ideal world, this would come from well cured compost. If this is not available to you, animal manure, leaves, grass Clippings, and peat moss will also serve the pur- pose. As these materi- als begin to decompose through the winter, the soil will begin to improve. A common question often asked is "how much sand do I need to add to my clay" to improve it. The short answer is: it is usually not practical to add enough sand to make an appreciable difference. Most of the time, these efforts simply result in clay with dirty sand in it. The addition of organic matter mentioned above is a far more beneficial approach. After the soil is pre- pared, it would be appro- priate to plant a fall cover crop or simply mulch it. Either of these choices would be preferable to leaving the soil exposed over the winter. For more informa- tion of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Exten- sion office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, said there will be manyVisitors to GardenFest gardens. In addition, at www.botanicgarden.The incorporation of or in person at the Payne more demonstrations and will be able to observe a sculptural installations okstate.edu, or contact organic matter shouldCounty Extensi0noffice, vendors at GardenFest variety 0f demonstrations createdby OSU students Stephanie Larimer at also occur at this time. located at 315 W. 6th in than in the past. such as paper making,also will be displayed 405-744-5404. Almost withoutfail, soils Stillwater. ..... , ii i _L_,AI ............ II I II IIII I "m z T Ir r,rl' ................... ~i ............................................................ ~,~ ....... .... ~ ........................