Garden Questions of the Month: September 2008

Garden Questions of the Month: September 2008

I’m a little late on this post but here it is! What questions did people ask in September? Here’s a glimpse of what information some people were looking for and wound up here!

How fast does Russian sage grow?

Pretty fast! I put in two plants this spring from cuttings and they grew to full size and bloomed. They had ideal conditions since they were planted in full sun. With the right conditions a fall planted Russian sage should reach a full size of 3-4 feet the following summer.

How far apart can I plant my Bradford pear trees?

How about miles, and miles away from me! Sure Bradford pear trees are pretty in the spring but they have been planted everywhere. Find a nicer alternative that’s not invasive and doesn’t fall apart in minor winds; like my answer to a later question in this post! But if you insist on planting them, space them out so that they have room to spread 20-35 feet. You can plant them a little closer if you want them to grow together. I would plant them about 20 feet apart. Of course this assumes that they make it to maturity without cracking or breaking in a storm!

What is eating our butterfly bush?

You got me there! It could be lots of things but even the deer have avoided our butterfly bushes. Butterfly bushes don’t have many common enemies. I would recommend taking a picture to your local agricultural center and see if they can identify the damage.

I’m redoing my landscape, what are some good inexpensive plants to use?

I’m always looking for cheap plants so you’ve come to the right place! The strategy I use is to purchase perennials. Perennials generally come back each year, unless weather conditions dictate otherwise, so once you’ve bought it you probably won’t need to replace it any time soon. The same goes with shrubs and trees. Let’s compare annuals and perennials for a second. A 6 pack of annuals might cost somewhere around two dollars and will last for one season. A perennial may cost around 6-7 dollars on up to 10 dollars and will come back each year. In only a couple years you recoup the cost of your perennials. Also consider buying small perennials and letting them grow into the landscape. Perennials don’t take long to reach significant size! If you buy them on the discount rack at the end of the season you save quite a lot more. If you’re looking for specific plants you can’t go wrong with daylilies. There is a variety of colors out there to use and they can be divided into more plants each year easily.

What ornamental tree can I plant in front of my house?

There are lots of options but my favorite is the Yoshino Cherry. It blooms with white flowers in the spring and still has nice foliage through out the rest of the growing season. It also can provide good shade in only a couple years as it is a relatively fast growing tree.

Can a purple leaf plum be planted in the fall?


OK I’ll elaborate! Fall is the best time to plant deciduous shrubs, trees, and perennials. It gives the plants time to grow good root systems over the winter and when spring comes they are ready to flush out with new growth. Fall is the time to plant!


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. What’s eating your butterfly bush? Could be Japanese beetles, they eat the flowers. If you have enough in your area, I imagine they would eat the leaves too.

  2. Hi Marnie!

    Japanese beetles are good culprits since they eat just about anything. Although they really haven’t been bad here in TN this year. Of course the person who asked the question might live somewhere where the beetles are much worse.

  3. Nice post Dave. Very informative. I have a Purple Leaf Plum in my front yard that I brought back from N.C. It has grown into a nice size little tree but I’m finding that little trees are growing up from the roots of the mother plant. Just mowing them off doesn’t help. Do I need to cut the roots off?

  4. You are so good with answering these questions Dave. Yep:)

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