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Friday, October 19, 2012

Improve your habitat this fall

As the leaves start to fall from the trees---and I go back to distracted driving since now I can see all of the birds in the trees, and I know the second I do not look, I'm going to miss seeing the migrating Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, or some other fun species that is not common in our portion of SE PA---you should be starting to think about prepping your lawn/landscape for the winter months.

I recently weeded my flowers (for maybe about the fifth and last time this year) and it does not look overgrown, I promise!! I did not cut the seed heads off any of my plants, except a few of my Vernonia sp.  (Ironweed) because we were painting the shutters of our house, and otherwise the plant would have ended up blowing into my paint.  However, I leave almost all of the seed heads as an additional source of food for our overwintering bird residents, and cover for any small mammals who might stop by for a visit.  You should be about done with separating the plants in your garden because at least where I am the first heavy frost should be right around the corner.  It is not advisable to plant any small plug this far into the fall as they could heave during an early and deep frost.  I would recommend waiting until spring at this point, but if you are really desperate to plant some last plugs before winter, make sure you check them on a fairly regular basis.  It is still a good time to plant trees and shrubs, in fact with all of the recent rain that we have had, this is among the most preferable time to plant trees.  If you have bird feeders, this is a great time to fill them to catch some of the fall migrants.  You should also make sure to keep out your hummingbird feeder as the little guys are still coming through on their way south and you may still be lucky enough to spot a vagrant hummingbird.

This is a good time of the year to cut the pesky and invasive bittersweet vine (and you can use it for fall decorations). Martha Stewart has plenty of ideas!! Cutting bittersweet when it is yellow typically limits the amount of re-sprouts that will occur. CLICK HERE to view my past post for full information about bittersweet control.  This is also a good time to spray your thistle one more time to have the most impact on the roots. CLICK HERE to view more information about thistle control.

Of course fall shouldn't all be about work! Make sure you take time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful days and fall color while it lasts! 

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