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                                                                                                    October 2009

Director's Message
by Jerry Goodspeed, Ogden Botanical Gardens

I love the fall!  It is my favorite time of the year. The colors of our mountains and canyons are normally breathtaking, the temperatures are perfect, and I know within a couple of months all those stupid weeds and pests will be dead! This is also the perfect time to visit the gardens. The trees and roses are looking fantastic, fall blooming perennials are showing their color, and the ornamental grasses are in their full glory. 

This fall and spring we are establishing a new ornamental grass garden at the Utah Botanical Center to complement the Varga Arboretum. It will be fun to watch it grow and develop. We already have many established ornamental grasses at the Ogden Botanical Gardens that you can come by and view to see how they could be integrated into your own landscape. 

Come by the gardens this fall and enjoy the weather, colorful trees and flowers, ornamental grasses, and good company of some fellow gardeners who are also winding down from a busy year. Hope to see you soon!

Feature Article:
Winding Down for Winter
by JayDee Gunnell

By the time the frost starts covering the lawn at the end of the season, many gardeners, like their lackluster plants, are spent.  The extreme heat of summer has drained every ounce of energy from them.  It is all too easy to ignore what waits outside.  But by accomplishing a few simple chores before those first flakes fly, you can ensure healthier and happier plants.  lgoos
Many perennials become crowded and may benefit from being divided every 4-5 years.  As a general rule,
perennials that bloom in the spring should be dug and divided in the fall.  Perennials that bloom in the fall should be dug and divided in the spring.  Dig perennials 3-4 weeks before the ground freezes. 
Trees' trunks can be damaged by winter sun from the south and west.  Protect young tree trunks by wrapping them with white tree wrap available at any local nursery or garden center.  The white wrap helps reflect the sun from the tender trunks.

Late fall (late Oct. - early Nov.) is the best time of year to feed your lawn.  Apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer after the last mowing.  Even though the grass doesn't appear to be growing, energy is being shipped down to the root system for storage.  This stored energy will present itself in early greening next spring.
Did you know?
Fall is one of the best times to plant nursery stock.  Cooler weather makes the transition easier for the plants.  It also gives the plants a head start for next spring by producing root growth this season.
For more information on other outdoor activities to prepare for winter see the USU Fact sheet "Winding Down for Winter".

Featured Pest:
by Jerry Goodspeed

Grasshoppers are noxious pests that are found in almost every state and garden in the country. They will eat just about anything that gets in their path including garden crops, annuals, and old Fords. In the fall they lay their eggs in undisturbed soil. If left unchecked, they can quickly increase in large enough numbers to create their own government and highways.

By the time the fall hits, most grasshoppers are about the size of a small Cessna aircraft and are very hard to control. The best option at this time of the year is to till or work the soil, especially in locations such as vacant lots and empty gardens. Grasshoppers deposit their eggs several inches below the soil level in undisturbed sites.  By working the soil, egg pods are brought to the surface and exposed to winters damaging temperatures. For more information see the USU Extension Utah Pest Fact Sheet "Grasshoppers."

Featured Tree:
Ginkgo-Maidenhair Tree
by JayDee Gunnell

Ginkgo biloba
Type:  Large shade tree

Zone:   3-8 (to -40F)
Size:    50-80 feet tall
           30-45 feet wide


As trees go, the Ginkgo is in a realm of its own...literally. This ancient dinosaur is a living fossil which can be traced as far back as 250 million years ago and is the only species of its kind. Native to China, this tree can grow to be hundreds of years old and has few, if any, pest or disease problems. The unique fan-shaped leaves offer some of the most intense yellow fall colors. Even better, all of the leaves drop within just a few days of each other. Not for the fly-by-night gardener, one must practice the lost art of patience when growing this tree. It is considered to be one of the slower growing specimens out there, but they are well worth the wait.
Down and Dirty Question and Answer:
What do I do with my leaves?

by Grant Cardon, Extension Soils Specialist

Fall leaves can be composted in piles in the garden, in a wire mesh cylinder, or simply in an old trash can perforated for aeration.  Mix chopped leaves (e.g., bagged with a lawn mower or lawn vacuum) evenly with grass clippings and wood shavings/chippings.  Leave the mix untouched during the winter, or turn the mix once a month to speed breakdown.  In early spring, increase turning to once a week and moisten to the consistency of a wrung out sponge.  When you are ready to plant the veggie or flower garden you will have a wonderful organic amendment for enriching your soil.  For more detail see the USU Extension Fact Sheet "Backyard Composting in Utah."

Upcoming Programs and Events

Voluntary Simplicity Discussion Course
Wednesdays through October 21, 7-8 p.m. at the Utah House
Discussion topics include the meaning of simplicity, living more with less, making a living, living simply and sustainably and do you have the time? This course was put together by the Northwest Earth Institute ( The goals for the course are to understand the meaning of voluntary simplicity, to explore the material and psychological distractions that prevent us from caring for the Earth and to acknowledge the connection between our lifestyle choices and the condition of the Earth. Cost to participate in the workshop is $20 and inclu
des a book. For more information visit

Fall Merit Badge Classes
Saturday, October 24,  Energy, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Utah House

The Utah Botanical Center and Utah House offer several programs which teach boy scouts about the world around them while helping them earn badges.  For most of the Merit Badge Workshops that are offered, all of the requirements for the badge are completed during the one-day workshop. Cost: $25, which includes all supplies and lunch. To learn how to register, please visit

Every Tuesday, 1-4 p.m. at the USU Davis County Master Gardener Office, Davis Co. Courthouse, Farmington;
Need help with something in your landscape? Bring in a sample of a tree branch, section of an ailing plant, leaf, an insect pest, chunk of turfgrass (4-6-inches on the margin of the problem) or a weed you don't know how to handle. Just walk in and we will have someone there to help you! Leave with the problem identified and ideas for control.

Click here for a complete list of events at the Utah Botanical Center
Click here for a complete list of events at the Ogden Botanical Gardens

Get Growing Calendar

► Spray a non-selective weed killer (such as Roundup) to control perennial weeds in the garden after it has frozen.
► Plant pansies along with tulips, daffodils and other spring-blooming bulbs for a beautiful display next spring.
► Reduce watering the lawn to to 1 inch per week.
► Fertilize the lawn for the last time of the season at the end of October.
► Mow the lawn about 2 inches tall for the last mowing in the fall before snow comes.
► Fertilize strawberry plants.
► Cut back perennials as they die back.
► Stop deadheading the roses so they can prepare for winter.
► Plant new trees and shrubs now to get them established before resting this winter.
► Harvest winter squash when the stem is hard and dry.

UTAH BOTANICAL CENTER-801-593-8969                                                                  OGDEN BOTANICAL GARDENS-801-399-8080
725 South Sego Lily Drive                                                                                                                            1750 Monroe Boulevard
Kaysville, Utah 84401                                                                                                                                           Ogden, Utah 84404                                                                                          
GARDENING HELP LINE                                                                                                                                      GARDENING HELP LINE
Phone: 801-451-3204 (M,W,F) 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.                                              Phone: 801-399-8080 (Mon-Fri) 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
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