What kinds of ornamentals can I plant in the fall?

Autumn is a great time to establish cool season grasses or plant ornamentals. If seeding in shaded areas or establishing cool season lawn grasses like fescue, Kentucky blue grass or rye, prepare the soil by a shallow tilling and raking before applying seed.

Keep the soil moist until you begin to see seedlings emerge then water as needed to keep grasses growing. For new cool season lawns, do not fertilize for 30 days. For established cool season lawns, fertilize in October. A soil test is important to know how much fertilizer is needed, but 2 lbs of 10-20-10/1000 sq. ft is a good start.

It is time to plant cool-season annuals like pansies, snapdragons, dusty miller, and ornamental kale or cabbage. Begin planting spring bulbs such as tulips, crocus, hyacinth and daffodils. Good companion ground covers for bulbs are ajuga, vinca, English ivy, alyssum, moneywort, thrift, phlox, oxalis and leadwort.

Keep in mind that vinca or English ivy can become invasive in the wrong location. Peonies, daylilies and other spring flowering perennials should be divided and planted now. Cannas, dahlias and caladiums should be dug and stored in a cool, dry location. For new plantings, perennials, shrubs and trees that are potted or burlapped can be planted now. It is a good time to pick the fall foliage that you like and there are many good selections.

Fall mums and asters should be planted now. Be sure to keep all new plantings watered. Radishes, mustard, spinach and lettuce can be planted in a fall garden

For more information contact the OSU Extension Center, 14001 Acme Road, corner of MacArthur and Acme Road in Shawnee or 273-7683.