Recently I have noticed quite a few customers thinking that it is too late in the season to do any plantings! When I hear this I am taken back because we are not entering what I consider to be the most opportune planting season!

The following article touches on the exact same topic and I thought it would be beneficial to our readers. The following article was printed in the Sept. 17th edition of the Effingham Daily News.

URBANA – With a good 2013 growing season, fall is a great time to plant trees, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

“Nearly all of northern Illinois has seen the decline and loss of ash tress from the Emerald Ash Borer or from the drought of 2012,” said Richard Hentschel. “The 2013 growing season has been good for many plants, including trees. The longer cooler spring with above-average moisture has been great. There are many other species of trees to choose from. This is also that opportunity in our yards to consider where the new tree will be planted and how big of a tree we want when it is mature.”

Once size, location and plant characteristics have been decided, the decision of planting the tree yourself or having the tree planted by the nursery must be made.

“How much the tree weighs is often the deciding factor for a home owner,” Hentschel said. “Trees can be found in large pots with an artificial soil and weigh far less than the same tree offered as a balled and burlapped tree.”

Hentschel pointed out that one limitation to a potted tree will be the sizes available. “If you are looking to replant with a larger caliper tree, then you will most often go with a balled and burlapped plant,” he said.

How you plant the tree once it has been delivered or brought home with you will make a big difference on how quickly it recovers and its long-term health. “The challenge will be making sure the pot or ball is planted at the right depth in your yard,” he said.

Regardless of how the tree sits in the bot of what it looks like being balled and burlapped, there is a critical spot on the trunk that should be found before digging the hole. This is the flare area where the trunk begins to turn into the root system.

“On larger trees, this flare is more readily apparent. On smaller trees, you will have to clear away the soil in the pot or the top of the ball to be sure you know where this flare is. Even on a larger balled and burlapped tree the flare can be below the top of the ball. What research as show us is that a tree planted too deep is slow to recover from being transplanted and has more problems in the the future with insects and disease,” Hentschel noted.

Once you have determined where the flare is, the hole should be dug so the flare will be at the soil line or even an inch or two above that. “If you do not have great drainage, then above the soil line is suggested. Roots will naturally grow down into the soil profile to a depth where they find a balance of soil moisture and air for quickest transplant recovery and long-term growth,” he said.

Once you are ready to set the tree in the planting hole, there are a few more things that can ensure that the tree will establish easily. For a tree that has been grown in a pot, there will be some roots that have found the edge of the pot and are now circling. These roots need to be bent outward as you backfill the hole.

“If they cannot be bent out, pruning them away is the alternative,” he said. “Any new roots that grow from the cut will grow out normally.”

For balled and burlapped plants and those with a wire basket, Hentschel recommends a different strategy.

“Once the ball is in the planting hole, removing some of the basket and burlap and twine is needed,” he explained. “Burlap and twine may not be entirely natural and rot away as in the past. Twine will need to be removed from around the base of the trunk and burlap down over the sides of the ball as far as possible.”

He added that the wire basket should also be removed down over the shoulder of the ball, leaving room for the expanding roots to develop. “You can use the remaining portions of the wire basket to tie more twine up and over the ball, just not around the trunk in order to help stabilize the tree in the new hole,” he said.

The final steps will be to backfill with the soil about two-thirds up, then water to settle the soil around the root ball. Finish backfilling and water to settle that soil as well. “With any remaining soil, you can create a berm for watering the rest of the fall. The berm will retain the water and keep it where the roots are , right in the are of the ball or pot,” Hentschel said.

“Monitor and water right up until about mid-November to be sure that newly planted trees have ample water,” he noted. “Before freezing temperatures get here, cut a couple of spots out of the watering berm so it will not stand water and harm the tree trunk.”



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The ‘So Sweet’ Hosta is a small, upright hosta to 8″ high which features a vase-shaped clump of flat, glossy, lance-shaped, medium green leaves with white margins, funnel-shaped, fragrant, white flowers on 14″ scapes. The So Sweet Hosta is a dependable and versatile perennial requiring little care. Grown primarily for its beautiful foliage which provides color, contrast and texture to the landscape. Dense foliage crowds out most garden weeds.

A mainstay of the shade garden. This small hosta can be mixed with other perennials in the border front, rock garden or woodland garden, used as an edging plant or massed and divided as a dense ground cover for small areas.

The So Sweet Hosta is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. No special culture is required. Soil should be kept moist, however especially in hot, sunny conditions.

Although slugs and snails can be problems, and leaf spot and crown rot lesser problems, hostas are otherwise virtually disease and pest-free and are ideal, low-maintenance garden perennials.


Common Name: So Sweet Hosta

Scientific Name:  Hosta ‘So Sweet’

Type:  Perennial

Exposure:  Partial – Full Shade

Size:  16″ height, 2′ spread

Bloom Color:  White

Bloom Period:  Late Summer

Foliage Color:  Green with White margins

Landscape Use:  Containers / Planters, Foundation, Garden, Landscape Beds, Mass Planting, Outdoor Living Areas, Perennial Garden, Small Groups, Under Shade Tree, Woodland Border

Soil:  Well-Drained, Moist

Zone:  3 – 8

Growth Rate: Moderate

Companion Plants: Foamy Bells, Bleeding Heart, Coral Bells, Astilbe, Golden Japanese Forest Grass

Maintenance:  Remove old foliage before new foliage emerges

*Attracts Hummingbirds

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An exciting improvement to Ninebark, Summer Wine combines the fine texture and compact branching of Physocarpus ‘Nana’ with the dark foliage of Physocarpus Diabolo. Smaller than other ninebark varieties, Summer Wine is an easy way to introduce wine colored foliage into the home garden. It is fast growing and has few, if any, pest problems. Its graceful, arching habit makes it very appealing in the landscape. It adds beautiful color and vibrancy to your garden, especially in Spring. In early June it blooms with white button-like flowers that accent the leaves nicely. Pruning and other maintenance is rarely needed. Use it as a bold accent or part of a mixed border. Summer Wine may even be cut for use in arrangements. This is a trouble-free addition to either the home or commercial landscape.

The Summer Wine has won 3 Theodore Klein Awards from the University of Kentucky Arboretum.


Common Name:  Summer Wine Ninebark

Scientific Name:  Physocarpus opulifolious ‘Seaward’

Type:  Perennial, Shrub

Exposure:  Full Sun – Partial Shade

Size:  5-6’ height, 5-6’ spread

Bloom Color:  Pink

Bloom Period:  Summer

Foliage Color:  Burgundy / Purple

Landscape Use:  Border, Container, Mass Planting, Woodland Garden

Soil:  Well-Drained

Growth Rate:  Moderate

Zone:  3 – 8

Companion Plants:  Blanket Flowers, Dayliy, Coneflower, Spireas, Coreopsis


Little Devil Ninebark

A compact upright shrub with burgundy leaves; features small pinkish-white spirea-like flowers followed by subtle reddish fruit, and interesting peeling papery bark; extremely tough and durable, good for massing or general garden use.

Little Devil Ninebark features showy clusters of white flowers with shell pink overtones at the ends of branches in early Summer. It has burgundy foliage throughout the season. The small serrated lobed leaves turn purple in Fall. It produces red capsules from early to mid Fall. The peeling tan bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Little Devil Ninebark is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape palnts with less refined foliage.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. It has no significant negative characteristics

Little Devil Ninebark is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • General Garden Use
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Accent

Little Devil Ninebark will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It has a low canopy. It grows at a medium rate, and uner ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions.

This is a selection of a native North American species.

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The Miss Kim Lilac is one of the most beautiful and fragrant of all lilac bushes. The light lavender blooms stand out nicely against the background of the dark, glossy green foliage. As with all lilacs, the Miss Kim lilac prefers full sun to thrive, but will also live in areas of partial shade, at the expense of fewer blooms. The green foliage turns a deep burgundy red in the autumn months, making the Miss Kim Lilac one of the most beautiful of the lilacs in the fall as well.

The Miss Kim is a very popular shrub for many reasons. The blooms have one of the most intoxicating scents of all flowers. The Miss Kim is even more fragrant than roses. The compact and upright rounded form makes them perfect for either border plants or for a specimen planting. The Miss Kim will grow to a height of six to seven feet with a mature spread of five to siz feet. This makes it small enough to be manageable in nearly every garden.

The Miss Kim, unlike many other lilac shrubs, is very resistant to powdery mildew. Unfortunately, it is not as drought resistant as some of its cousins. When faced with a prolonged period of drought, the Miss Kim lilac will often shed much of its foliage. Thought by may to be the number one lilac in the Mid-Western United States, the Miss Kim was originally native to Korea.

Common Name: Manchurian lilac
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 4 to 9 feet
Spread: 5 to 7 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Color: Lavender
Bloom Description: Lilac
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flowers: Showy Flowers, Fragrant Flowers
Leaves: Good Fall Color
Wildlife: Attracts Hummingbirds, Attracts Butterflies
Tolerates: Deer
Uses: Cut Flower, Hedge
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Do you love the flowers of Weigela, but wish that they would bloom longer? Introduced in 2012, Sonic Bloom Weigela Pink is one in a series of 3 reblooming Weigela. The pure pink flowers have a yellow throat, as the flowers mature they fade to a pale pink. Sonic Bloom Weigela is a real treasure to add to your landscape. These shrubs bloom in the late Spring (May) and then it becomes a supersonic rebloomer all summer until the Fall frost. The loads of pink blooms contrast beautifully with the dark green foliage. If planted in full sun the Sonic Bloom Weigela grows 4-5′. It is a fast growing shrub that is trouble free. If needed, prune back right after the first spring bloom.

Prefers well-drained soils but is adaptable to other soil types. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to develop a deep, extensive root system. Fertilize in early spring with a controlled-release fertilizer.

Garden Styles: Cottage, Rustic
Zone: 4-8
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Needs regular watering, weekly or more often in extreme heat
Growth: Reaches 4 to 5 ft. tall and wide
Growth Rate: Moderate
Growth Habit: Round
Flower Attributes: Long Bloom Season, Repeat Flowering, Showy Flowers
Special Features: Attracts Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant, Easy Care
Landscape Uses: Border, Mass Plantings
Flower Color: Pink
Blooms: Spring and late Summer to hard frost
Foliage Color: Green
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Guacamole Hosta – Hosta of the Week!!

On August 12, 2013, in Garden Facility, by Admin

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. The Guacamole Hosta tolerates full sun in cool summer climates. Elsewhere it is best in part shade (some morning sun). Guacamole Hosta are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions as well. This Hosta performs best in rich, moist, organic soils, with a preference for consistent moisture during the growing season,  but plant have tolerance for some dry shade once established. Water is best applied directly to the soil beneath the leaves. Divide plants as needed in Spring or Autumn. Division is usually easiest in Early Spring before the leaves unfurl.

Guacamole is a medium hosta with leaves the color of guacamole. It is a sport of Hosta ‘ Fragrant Bouquet’. It grows in a mound to 18″ tall but spreads over time to as much as 50″ wide! It features slightly convex, wide oval, chartreuse-gold leaves (to 11″ by 8″) with irregular darker bluish-green margins. Leaves are glossy above the glaucuous below with distinctive veining, mucronate tips and cordate to overlapping leaf bases. Funnel-shaped, highly fragrant, almost white flowers bloom in mid-Summer on pale green scapes rising to 36″ tall.

Hostas are a mainstay of shade gardens. This variegated hosta makes an interesting garden specimen. It is effective in groups or massed. It can be mixed with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens.

Common Name: hosta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Agavaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 3 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flowers: Showy Flowers
Leaves: Colorful
Wildlife: Attracts Hummingbirds
Tolerates: Dense Shade, Black Walnuts
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The Strip Tease Hosta displays a light green to yellow center, edged with a narrow white line that disappears into the grayish-green towards the outer edge. Very showy from early Spring until late Fall. Excellent for shade or partial shade. Grown even in moist locations! Usually takes about 1 year to establish itself.

Strip Tease Hosta is a perennial that, when at maximum growth, will reach 18-20″ in height and 36″ wide. A beautiful Lavender flower will bloom from Late Summer to Early Fall. Strip Tease hosta’s can be used for many different applications including containers, foundations, landscape beds, mass plantings, outdoor living areas, perennial gardens, small groups, under shade trees, or woodland borders, just to name a few.

The Strip Tease hosta is a moderate grower for zones 3-9 and prefers Well-Drained/Moist soil conditions.

Some companion plants for the Strip Tease Hosta include: August Moon Hosta, Golden Japanese Forest Grass, Forget-me-not, Blue Fescue, Pink Astilbe and Foam Flowers.


American Hosta Growers’ Association Hosta of the Year 2005

American Hosta Society Best Variegated Hosta in a Garden Award 1995

American Hosta Society Best Blue Hosta in a Garden Award 1997

American Hosta Society Benedict Garden Performance Award Honorable Mention 2006

American Hosta Society Benedict Garden Performance Award of Merit 2008

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Living in Illinois we are accustomed to know that we will never be able to count on the weather. Over the past two years our plants and landscapes have been put through the ringer! Whether its the Illinois Monsoon Season or a Severe Drought, we seem to see it all here in Central Illinois. Countless times we receive phone calls and questions about the proper way to water. People seem to be afraid that they may not know what they are doing when it comes to watering, which in the long run could lead to problems for the plant itself. The following article is brought to us by our friends at Proven Winners were they have addressed the issue head on.

Proper watering of the plants in your containers is crucial to having them perform their best. Onec you get a little bit of experience, understanding when and how much to water becomes almost second nature. However, when you are first starting out, figuring out how to make those plants happy can be pure frustration. The most common cause of early plant death is generally considered to be over-watering. Luckily for us, ninety percent of the plants out there will be happy if you follow these simple guidelines. 

If you are planting in a pot, make sure there is at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Proper drainage is essential to happy roots, and happy roots are essenial for happy plants. Pots that do not have proper drainage are very easy to over-water.

Rather than watering on a set schedule, check first to see if your plants need water. If your plant is in a pot, check the surface of the soil in the pot either by looking at it or touching it with your finger. Wet soil will be dark in color while dry soil will be lighter. For peat based soil mixes (the most common type), this means dark brown to black is wet, while ‘paper bag’ brown is dry. If the surface of the soil is dry to the touch (or looks dry) water your plants. You may need to check your plants twice a day to see if they need water. Remember just because one pot needs water that doesn’t mean they all do. Differences in pot and plant sizes will impact how quickly a pot dries out. 

When you water be sure to moisten the entire root zone. In other words, water until water comes out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. It may take as much as 3/4 or a gallon of water to thoroughly water a 10 – 12 inch container. More plants are killed with a ‘cup of kindness’ rather than a good long drink of water. Plants that frequently receive a cup of water, seldom develop roots in the bottom 2/3′s of the soil. When that daily cup of water is not available, the plant wilts and easily could be lost due to dehydration.

Making sure the whole root zone is watered is important for two reasons. First it will encourage roots to grow all he way to the bottom of the pot, which means happier plants. Second, you won’t have to water as often if you water thoroughly. Do not allow the pot to sit in water. Pots sitting in water will keep the soil in the pot too wet, allow excess water to drain away.

It is best not to water at night. If you water your plants too late in the day the foliage will tend to stay wet all night. Wet foliage at night makes a great breeding ground for disease. If your plant isn’t wilting and it’s after 6:30 at night you should be able to wait until morning to water. If the plant has wilted, go ahead and water that evening, its need for water outweighs the chances of catching a disease. 

A few more tips on containers. Early in spring when your plants are smaller and the temperatures are lower you may only have to water every 3-4 days. As the plants get larger and the mercury creeps higher be prepared to water everyday, with small pots or water “pigs” you might even have to water twice a day. You will also need to water more quickly if it is a windy day. Wind will cause pots to dry out more quickly, especially hanging baskets. 

If you want to water less often use larger pots. Larger pots hold more soil volume. More soil volume means more water held in the pot. More water in the pot means watering less often. 

There are additives that can be added to the soil to help it retain more moisture. These can be helpful in long dry summers. If you do incorporate these additives be careful that you don’t over-water in spring when the pots are drying out less quickly, something I learned the hard way. 

If you have dried your pot down to the point that the plant is wilting it may take more than standard watering practices to get the plant hydrated again. Commercial potting mixes can become almost water repellent if they get too dry. If you water your plant and it seems like all of the water is running down between the sides of the pot and soil ball, you may need to take steps to re-hydrate the soil. Fill a tub with water and soak your pot in the water until the soil has expanded and is no longer pulled away from the edge of the pot. Resume normal watering practices.

If soaking your pot or basket in a tub of water is impractical you can also re-hydrate by watering repeatedly. To do this water the plant liberally, it will probably seem like most of the water is running around the soil rather than soaking into the soil. Wait 30 minutes to an hour and water one last time, by the third watering the soil should be hydrated and taking up water like normal again. This method works because the first watering starts to moisten the soil surface even though not much water soaks in. The following waterings then get the water to penetrate the soil ball and moisten the entire basket. Waiting between each watering allows the water you have already added time to soak into the soil and helps to make the soil less water repellent. 

Most plants will do best when fertilized using a water soluble fertilizer every 7 to 10 days or a controlled-release fertilizer once a season. 

For most plants the watering guidelines described above are perfect. There will always be those plants that prefer to be kept drier or wetter than this, but for the ost part these guidelines will fit the bill”

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Kiefer Landscaping is please to announce that we are now carrying the BRAND NEW organic plant food from BioSafe Systems. BioSafe Plant Food, an all-purpose plant food made of natural nutrients extracted from seeds. Easy to metabolize nutrition helps plants grow stronger roots, greener foliage and more blooms. This highly concentrated, liquid formula is non-salt based, so users won’t burn plants, can feed all plant types and are offered an economic alternative to most commonly used water soluble fertilizers. A staple from professional growers to new gardeners, BioSafe Plant Food is the easy choice!

BioSafe currently offers eco-friendly and effective products for the home, garden and pont markets and is excited to be adding to their line-up. “liquid plant food is a natural progression for our company” says Rob Larose, CEO of BioSafe Systems. Providing sustainable nutrition derived from oilseed extract, BioSafe Plant Food “Fits perfectly into our current line of green and sustainable products.”

“BioSafe Systems is committed to protecting what matters most. That’s why we’re determined to make effective products that are truly eco-friendly and can be used around kids, pets, and are safe for the environment” says Robert Larose, President and CEO

For more information about BioSafe Plant Food give us a call at (217)347-7500 or you can order online!

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For all of those eagerly anticipating the release of this weeks Hosta pick …… here it is…..FRAGRANT BOUQUET!!! Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils, the Fragrant Bouquet Hosta, will perform marvelous in partial to full shade! This Hosta cultivar is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions but does best in rich, moist, organic soils in light, sun-dappled shade to dense shade. Growers can divide these plants as needed in Spring or Autumn however Spring may be the easiest before the leaves unfurl.

Fragrant Bouquet features a 15-20″ tall mound of wavy, heart-shaped, basal leaves that are apple-green variegated with creamy margins. The foliage mound will typically spread to 32-36″ wide. Large, fragrant, funnel-shaped, near white flowers appear in summer on stalks rising above the foliage mound.

Hosta’s are a mainstay of Shade Gardens. This hosta can be mixed with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens, or woodland gardens, or used as an edging plant. Mass group for a showy groundcover!


Common Name: Fragrant Bouquet Hosta

Scientific Name:  Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’

Type:  Perennial

Exposure:  Partial Shade – Full Shade

Size:  1-2′ height, 3-4′ spread

Bloom Color:  White

Bloom Period:  June – July

Foliage Color:  Variegated

Landscape Use:  Containers / Planters, Foundation, Garden, Landscape Beds, Mass Planting, Outdoor Living Areas, Perennial Garden, Small Groups, Under Shade Tree, Woodland Border

Soil:  Well-Drained

Zone:  3 – 8

Growth Rate: Fast

Companion Plants:  Bleeding Heart, White Astilbe, Sedge Grasses, Geranium, Purple Astilbe, Fern

Maintenance:  Remove old foliage before new foliage emerges


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