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Fall gardening tips

Posted: 3:30 PM, Sep 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-25 21:49:10Z

We're three weeks away from our average first freeze date, but we're already seeing frost advisories and freeze watches in parts of the Nebraska panhandle. So that means it's time to start preparing your plants for the cooler weather.

As temperatures begin to drop, especially overnight, Mulhall's employee Cindy Smith says there are ways to protect your outdoor plants.

"Just elevating those plants, even a few feet off the ground will continue to keep them in good shape, even if we have temperatures in the 40s," Smith says.

You can also carefully cover your outdoor plants overnight.

"A simple sheet is very fine, don't use plastic because that tends to smother the plants," she adds.

However, the cooler weather is also a signal that it is time to get ready to plant some bulbs.

"We want to make sure that the ground temperature is below 50 and then it's great to plant them, your daffodils and tulips, all of those wonderful spring bulbs," Smith mentions.

Fall is also a good time of year to plant deciduous trees like elm, oak, or hickory.

"Basically they're going to go dormant after a couple nights of a hard freeze. So it really doesn't effect the tree that much. The temperatures are cooler, so it's a lot less stress on the tree," she says.

Some trees, especially evergreens, may need some extra attention and watering even through winter. You can still water on days when the temperature sneaks into the upper 30s and low 40s.

"We suggest you take a 5 gallon bucket out and dump it on the root ball. It will eventually soak in and get down to the bottom of those roots so that when spring comes, they'll have moisture and they'll be ready to go," Smith explains.

It may seem a bit counter-intuitive to plant when temperatures are starting to drop, especially for those without much gardening knowledge, but local nurseries and garden centers will always be happy to get you on the right planting path.