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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – September 9, 2023

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Shannon’s Note

It’s planting season again! We always think of spring as planting season, but fall is actually the better time of year to plant perennial native flowers, trees, and shrubs.

In the spring the plants are dividing their energy between vegetative growth and root growth. They are also more likely to go into transplant shock because the weather is getting hotter and drier.

In the fall, the vegetative growth of the plants is going dormant and the plant is putting most of its energy into root growth. That root growth will continue until the ground temperatures get below 40 degrees or so.

Plus, the plants are less likely to go into transplant shock because the weather is getting cooler and wetter. That’s not to say that plants won’t go into transplant shock in the fall. You still have to watch them because we will still have the potential for hot, dry days, but in general the risk is lower.

The result is that planting at this time of year typically produces a stronger, more vigorous plant next spring compared to holding the same plant over winter in a container and planting it during the traditional spring planting season.

Of course, if you’re a little over ambitious with your plant purchases and can’t get everything in the ground this fall, then that’s ok too. Overwintered plants will do fine if you get them in the ground next spring, they just may be a little slower their first year than their fall planted counterparts.

Have a great day!

New England asters and other fall asters are starting to bloom and to provide a bountiful feast for all kinds of pollinators.

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Upcoming Presentation

Simple Ways To Make Your Yard More Eco-Friendly

The traditional image of a “perfect yard,” is a lush, well-manicured, heavily fertilized, weed-free expanse of solid green grass. Yet, more and more people are exploring alternative options that are more ecologically friendly.

I’ll be giving a presentation on this topic at Lost River Cave on Saturday, September 16, at 10:00 a.m. CT. Registration is required and all proceeds go to Lost River Cave. Learn more and register at .

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Upcoming Sales and Events

Our next native plant sale will be Saturday, September 16, at Lost River Cave. We will be taking pre-orders for the sale. Depending on how much we sell there, this may be our last sale of the season.

Details about the event and the native plants we know we will have available can be found by clicking on the link below. As always, there will likely be a few additional species that aren’t on the lists but make a surprise appearance in limited quantities.

Click on the event below to find out what we will have available that day and how to place a pre-order if desired.

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September Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • Fall is the best time to plant native perennial wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
    • The roots will continue to grow into early winter and will start growing again in the late winter / early spring as the ground warms up. That extra root growth will give your fall planted plants a jump start on any plants that you plant in the spring.
  • Water newly planted plants, as needed.
    • The summer drought may be mostly over, but fall can still be pretty dry and newly planted individuals may need additional water.
  • Be sure to keep your hummingbird feeders clean and avoid red dyes.
    • You may have to clean the feeders as often as once a day to keep any mold or algae from growing.
    • Never add fresh food to old.
    • The number of birds visiting your feeders will likely increase over the next several weeks because the adult males are beginning their migration south while the females and young of the year are preparing to leave.
  • Clean and refill birdbaths weekly, or more often as needed.
    • Cleaning and refilling birdbaths at least once a week will help keep your birdbath from becoming a mosquito factory.
  • Check for and remove any paper wasp nests in butterfly houses or empty birdhouses near your gardens.
    • I actually recommend removing or blocking the entrances to butterfly houses.
  • If you typically mow a field that has lots of goldenrods, asters, and other fall flowers in it, then try waiting to mow until after the first killing frost.
    • Waiting to mow will allow our 14 species of butterflies that migrate (including the monarch butterfly) and all of our fall bees the opportunity to use the flowers.
  • It’s always a good time to kill invasive species.
    • Stilt grass (Microstegium sp.) and perilla mint / beefsteak plant (Perilla frutescens) can be easily pulled in garden beds.
    • If you are using herbicides to control invasive species, be sure to read and follow the label. Paying attention to the maximum temperatures for application is especially important at this time of year.
  • Kick back and enjoy the pollinators and wildlife visiting your native plants.
    • The fall migration has started for both the butterflies and songbirds.

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Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting

Helping you create the pollinator and wildlife habitat of your dreams, so you can enjoy your land and care for the plants and animals that also call your property home.

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