Local fall gardeners need to be familiar with the different U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones. According to the USDA, the DC Metro area occupies Zone 7.
About Fall Gardening in Zone 7
The U.S. Department of Agriculture divides the country up into 11 growing zones. Zone 7 is the only continuous zone of these four, spanning the country. This zone includes Eastern Maryland and most of Virginia. If you are planting a garden in zone 7, you’ll be able to choose among a wide variety of shrubs, veggies and flowers.
Here are some of the more commonly seen evergreen shrub choices for Zone 7:
- Yaupon Holly
- Japanese Holly
- Japanese Skimmia
- Dwarf Mugo Pine
- Dwarf English Laurel
- Mountain Laurel
- Japanese/Wax Privet
- Blue Star Juniper
- Chinese Fringe-Flower
- Winter Daphne
- Oregon Grape Holly
Tips on Planting Zone 7 Evergreens
A shrub expected to reach a mature width of 6 feet and should be planted at least through feet from an existing edge. Despite the fact that most evergreens accept damp conditions, it is best to plant evergreens ins well-drained soil. Evergreens will not thrive in consistently wet and soggy ground.
Best Time to Plant Evergreens
- The absolute best time to plant an evergreen conifer is very early spring when the soil has thawed and the frost is out.
- Early fall is also an excellent time to plant evergreen conifers.
Planting Your Evergreen
Your first task is to dig the hole. Dig the hole deep and wide. Loosen the soil adequately for the roots to extend easily. Evergreens are generally shallow rooted. A good rule of thumb (green thumb) is to dig 2 to 4 times the width of the root ball and at least a foot deep.
Plant the evergreen, adjust and lightly tamp the soil level. Be sure the root ball is level with the surrounding soil level. Use the existing the soil you dug out to the hole, smoothing and lightly firming the soil. Water the soil until it is well soaked.
Apply mulch in a 2 to 4 inch thick layer several inches wider than the widest part of the plant. Avoid mulch contact with the evergreen trunk.
Care of Newly Planted Evergreens
Apply enough water to encourage good root development. Slow soak the evergreen each week. Your purpose is to soak the root ball and surrounding ground. This will encourage root growth.
Tips for Planting Evergreens
A shrub expected to reach a mature width of 6 feet and should be planted at least 3 feet from an existing edge. Despite the fact that most evergreen shrubs tolerate damp conditions, it is almost best to plant evergreens in well-drained soil. Evergreens will not do well in consistently wet and soggy ground.
Best Time to Plant Evergreens
Evergreens can be planted just about any time that suits you, but some times are better than others. The absolute best time to plant an evergreen conifer is very early spring when the soil has thawed and the frost is out. Evergreens will enjoy getting established in cool weather with lots of spring rain. Planting evergreens can continue late into spring as long as you make sure they get plenty of water.
As for vegetables in Zone 7, the USDA list some of these commonly grown choices:
- Swiss Chard
- Lettuce Varieties
Zone 7 Vegetable Planting Guide
Types of Flowers
- Perennials come back for many years.
- Annual plants live for only one growing season.
Commonly grown flowers for Zone 7 include:
- Sweet Pea
- Moss Rose
- Bachelor’s Button
Tips for Gardening in Zone 7
Zone 7 isn’t a punishing climate. The growing season is relatively long compared to more northern climates. You should be careful to prevent potential frost damage. Planting too early in spring or too late in fall can pose a problem.
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