The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 2, 2012

Some recommendations regarding fall gardening

Ask A Master Gardener

TARBORO — Tom W. (Tarboro) Asks: Is Fall a good time to plant ornamental plants?

Answer: Yes.  Ornamental plants purchased as bare-root, ball and burlapped (B&B), or as container-grown plants. However, container-grown plants have become the most popular for sale by the nursery industry. In theory, container-grown plants can be transplanted year round, however, extra attention to watering must be made when transplanting in late spring or summer. Late fall and early spring are considered ideal planting times because roots will have more time to grow into the surrounding soil before the stress due to new foliage growth and high temperatures occurs.

•    Bare-root plants should be planted while they are dormant. Fall planting is well-suited for these plants.

•    Most of the plants sold as balled and burlapped (B&B) plants are large, evergreen plants and deciduous trees. They transplant best during late fall and early winter but can be successfully done in the spring.

For more details, check out this site for more information:

Tom W. (Tarboro) Asks: If I want to plant a Japanese Maple, what are the key traits that I should consider in selecting a variety?

Answer:  Look for a low mounding or upright tree form; another consideration is to select a variety that has the leaf color and texture you desire.  Two popular Japanese Maple cultivars in this area are “Autumn Glory” and “Bloodgood”.  They both have a showy bright crimson fall color.  But, for a longer answer and detailed cultivars, check out this site:

And, you can go to: for a photo database of available cultivars.

Julia S. (Tarboro) Asks: I wonder what I should do to make sure that my lantana flourishes next year.  It was so beautiful throughout the summer.  How do I keep it alive through the winter?

Answer: If we have another mild winter, you will have little to worry about.  But, to be on the safe side, it is recommended that you mulch your plants about 3 inches, being careful not to put the mulch too close to the center of the plant which would likely cause the stem to rot.  Pine straw, pine bark or shredded cypress mulch are popular mulches.  Allow the plants to die back naturally.  You should wait until next spring, when new growth appears, before you cut back the old.

The Edgecombe Master Gardeners have planted “Chapel Hill Yellow” lantana (perennial) in the new traffic circle/roundabout at the southern end of Main Street.   These plants will have pale yellow blooms late June or early July.  

Here’s a site that will familiarize you with the variety of cultivars of lantana that are available:

“Ask A Master Gardener” is a weekly column providing our readers solutions to common problems concerning horticulture, gardening, and pest management.  Trained Extension Master Gardener Volunteers have access to the research that provide answers.  

Submit your questions by email to  Or call the local Extension Center at 252-641-7815 and tell them you have a question for a master gardener; a volunteer will return your call with a solution to your problem, or write to “Ask A Master Gardener”, c/o The Daily Southerner, P.O. Box 1199, Tarboro, NC 27886.