Fall Ideal Time to Plant Trees

Bennett Joffrion  |  9/20/2005 12:36:53 AM

We are approaching the best time to plant trees in our area.  Fall is ideal because it allows the plant to establish a root system in the new soil long before shoot growth is initiated the next spring.  Root activity takes place in relatively cool soil, even though the top (shoot) is not actively growing. Also, usually less supplementary water will be required in late fall and early winter.

Trees and Hurricanes

We were really lucky this year in regard to hurricanes and were spared the devastation that we had in the past. One point relevant now is which trees weathered the past storms successfully and which ones were more seriously damaged.

The first point and key fact to remember is never plant tall trees with a large crown within 20-30 feet of a home or structure. They should be at least 30 feet away.

Another key point to remember is that most rapidly growing trees are short lived.  I say this because I get calls all the time where the person will say I want to plant a fast-growing tree. That’s fine, but keep in mind that fast-growing trees are short lived and are problem trees. Two good examples are water oak and Arizona ash.

Trees that had problems for Katrina and other storms are often called victim or weak wood trees. These trees either had a lot of limb and stem breakage or were uprooted. They include:  

  • Water Oaks
  • Pecans
  • Red Cedar
  • Pines
  • Ash
  • Elms

Another point to remember is that there is no perfect tree. Many factors determine when, how and why some trees perform better than others. Survivor trees are those that are compact, have a major tap root and well-developed secondary roots and a low center of gravity. One of the best survivor trees is the Live Oak. Others include Baldcypress, Palms, Cow Oak and American Holly. These are just a few that, once they are established, will survive a storm.

Remember what was said earlier.

  • There is no perfect tree.
  • Plant trees that have the potential to be tall and have a large canopy at least 30 feet from a home or structure.
  • Fast-growing trees are usually short lived and are weak.

If you would like to discuss selection and placement of your tree species, call me at 985-873-6495.

Garlic Planting

Now is the time to begin planting garlic in your garden. Planting a true clove in October should provide a plant that produces a cloving bulb in late spring. Tahiti or elephant garlic is the largest and mildest. The Italian and Creole varieties are smaller and stronger. Most require between 200 – 215 days from plant to harvest.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

There are two very popular fall vegetables that small gardeners can plant and enjoy which can be planted now.

Broccoli should be spaced 6-12 inches apart and cauliflower about 12-18 inches apart. Both of these shallow-rooted plants respond to fairly high rates of fertilizer. Apply 4-6 pounds of 8-8-8 per 100 feet of row. Side-dress with about a pint of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row about two to four weeks after transplanting. Two to three added side-dressings at two week intervals will increase yields.

For those of you that like to try new things there is a yellow head variety cauliflower called 51J Cheddar from Stokes Seed Company and a purple head variety cauliflower called “Graffiti” F1 from Johnsons Seed Company. They will grow well here and give you those LSU colors to enjoy and eat.

Question: My grass continues to turn brown and die in large circular areas. What is causing this?

Answer: I have looked at several yards like this in the past few weeks mainly in St. Augustine lawns. The culprits have been two insects. Most of them have been chinch bugs but also sod webworms. They have been feasting on the lawns for awhile. You need to treat when noticed as I have seen some yards almost completely destroyed.  Products to use are Talstar 10 WP or 50% Sevin.

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