Garden Solutions - November 2018


            It is hard to believe we at the end of another summer and fall season. Below is a list of things you can do on warm fall days to prepare for winter.  Dig into these tasks listed below and enjoy the outdoors as much as you can!

  • An important step is to make sure all plants are well watered throughout November to insure adequate winter food reserves. That final soaking before the last frost is essential.  Soak evergreens and new plantings again in midwinter during a warm spell if moisture is not abundant.

  • Mulching is an important step to keep soil temperatures from fluctuating so much.

  • Protect the trunks of transplanted or young trees to minimize frost cracks.  White plastic roll covers and paper wrap are good choices.

  • Till up the vegetable garden to expose many insect pests to winter cold and reduce their numbers in next year’s garden.

  • Apply Winterizer fertilizer to the lawn to strengthen plant stems and roots and early spring green up.

  • Plant tulips and other spring bulbs now through December.

  • Dig and store tender bulbs planted this spring such as Dahlias, caladiums, and elephant ears.

  • Start paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs indoors now thru December.

  • Take steps to prevent garden ponds from freezing using a floating garden heater in the pond.

  • Set up bird feeders. Birds also appreciate a source of unfrozen drinking water.

  • When feeding the birds, set up tube feeders that are good for songbirds, platform feeders that are good for cardinals and larger birds, and suet that is a great source of fat and energy for woodpeckers.

  • Winter houseplant care: reduce fertilizer until spring, shorter days mean slower growth, slower growth means less frequent watering.

  • Leave ornamental grasses standing tall for winter interest in the garden and for feeding the birds. Cut them down to 2-4” in early spring.

Time to go….See you in the Garden....
Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Plant Trees Until The Ground Freezes!


‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.’
- Chinese Proverb

       Even though many trees have dropped most of their leaves, it is still a good time to plant them. The roots can grow until the ground freezes and then again as the ground thaws in spring. This way, they will get a better start in spring and be better equipped to handle the hot, dry weather in summer.

       Come see our great selection of trees that have just arrived this fall. Let us help you choose a good variety for your location and needs.

Think Spring - Plant Bulbs in Fall


We always here the regrets in spring... How can I get those colorful bulb flowers in my gardens now? We have to say, "Sorry, spring blooming flower bulbs need to be planted in fall." The good news is that you can plant that colorful spring garden with daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and more now. Then, those colorful flowers will come up on their own next spring! Come in and choose from our great selection!


Fertilize Lawns in Fall for Winter Protection

Fertilome Winterizer Fertilizer for Established Lawns

Apply in the fall to both lawns and shrubs. It enables turf, tress & shrubs to withstand the rigors of winter better and easier. Its effects are similar to putting on an overcoat in the winter. Applying extra potash enables warm season grasses to come through winter better and be healthier in the spring. Builds hardiness, stem strength, and disease resistance insuring a healthy, stable plant to better survive winter.


"Chap Stick" For Broadleaf Evergreens


        If you find yourself reaching for Chap Stick because your lips feel dry, then it may be time to treat your broadleaf evergreens with an anti-desiccant spray like "Wilt Stop." This natural, non-toxic product, derived from the resin of pine trees, has the unique ability to form a soft, clear flexible film on plants. It protects plants from drying out, drought, wind burn, sunscald, winter kill, transplant shock and salt damage. Good for evergreens like holly, boxwood, magnolia, azaleas, rhododendrons, and laurel to help keep them from losing foliar moisture during winter season. Apply in mid-late fall and again in January when the weather permits. Wilt Stop also extends the life of cut flowers and Christmas trees.

Landscape Lighting


       You’ve selected the perfect shades of shrubs and perennials. Now bring them to beautiful light, alive in their natural tones. Our Kichler LED fixtures produce a pure, warm white light that doesn’t have a blue cast or yellow tint like other light sources.

       We have solutions for every application – decks, patios, ponds, landscapes and more. A beam angle that can be precisely set and projected where intended. A fixture that doesn’t attract mosquitoes. A pure, warm white light that enhances your home and landscape’s natural tones. No light bulbs to change. A strong warranty. 75% energy savings.


Pruning - Wait Until Trees Are Dormant


       While you may be tempted to clean up your yard by trimming trees and shrubs, now is not the time.

 • Pruning stimulates new growth, which cannot be adequately supported with the falling temperatures and daylight.

 • Any spring-flowering tree or shrub should not be pruned until after blooming next spring. These plants usually set their buds in fall - pruning now will mean no flowers in the spring!

 • Pruning creates wounds, which can invite pests and diseases, such as Oak Wilt. Pruning while bugs are dormant can prevent infestations while the tree is vulnerable.

 • The best time to prune a tree is in late winter, just before the tree breaks dormancy. The cut will heal quickly during vigorous growth in early spring.

• Do not prune in spring while the tree’s buds are developing. If the buds are beginning to swell, leave the tree alone until the leaves have grown to their mature size.

Fall Weekend Gardening Guide


Here’s a quick gardening guide for the weekend…

1. Plant! You can plant until the ground freezes. We have a long way to go!

2. Tuck In! Plant spring blooming bulbs: Crocus, daffodils and hyacinths… Think of the colorful bouquets in March!

3. Clean-Up! Clear away debris and cut back plants that are done blooming.

4. Fertilize! Feed your trees, shrubs and perennials

5. Decorate! Think about fall touches that will carry through to Thanksgiving. Fun, festive and great curb appeal! Include regular and specialty pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, straw bales and a wide variety of plants. All available at Hillermann’s!

Garden Solutions - October 2018

I am going to focus on trees and pumpkins for this month’s article. Quite a different combination, but both need attention this time of year.


There are Many Benefits of Planting Trees. Consider all the benefits listed below, and remember fall is the perfect time to plant trees for an increased success rate next spring.

·    Trees are perfect for planting as living memorials, or to commemorate significant events in our lives.

·    Tree lined streets have a traffic calming effect, moving more slowly and safely.

·    Trees can be placed to screen unwanted views or noise from busy highways.

·    Trees improve our air quality by filtering ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide from the air we breathe.

·    Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe.

·    Trees reduce erosion and pollution in our waterways and may reduce the effects of flooding.

·    Trees provide food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals.

·    Trees can reduce cooling costs in the summer by shading the south and west sides of your home.


·    Evergreen trees on the north side of your home can act as a windbreak for winter warmth.

·    The value of a well landscaped home with trees and shrubs can be as much as 10% higher than a similar home with no landscaping.

            Now let’s change the focus to HALLOWEEN!!! What a great time to decorate and enjoy the season. Here are “Tips for Selecting and Preserving Your Pumpkin.”

            When selecting a pumpkin choose one that does not have any bruises. Check for discoloration and soft spots. The size will not matter, however, to most children and some adults, bigger is better.

Look for pumpkins with a sturdy stem.  Check the bottom of the pumpkin to see if the base is damaged. If the pumpkin feels heavy and sloshes, put it back

            If you place a pumpkin in a washtub of cold water, it will absorb the water and become very firm. Cut open the top of the pumpkin and clean out the seeds. If you have fine detail work to do, you may want to let your pumpkin soak overnight. This will firm up the pumpkin flesh and allow you to do intricate carving. You can add a small amount of bleach in the water to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

            Once you have carved your pumpkin add a thin amount of petroleum jelly on the exposed cut edges. This will help seal moisture. If the pumpkin dries out you can try to revive it by soaking it in a bath of cold water for one to eight hours.

            You can prepare your pumpkins ahead of time and keep them fresh for a future party or gathering. Wrap them in plastic wrap to hold and store them in the refrigerator.  They will stay fresh  for a very long time.

            Once you remove a wet pumpkin for display, dry it off. This prevents mold from having a chance to grow.


Now, enjoy all that the month of October has to offer and I will…

See you in the garden.
Sandi Hillermann McDonald



Garden Solutions - September 2018

By Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Fall Annual Color Plants at Hillermanns

            There is no better time of year than this abundant season to catch your bearings, reevaluate the year, enjoy the harvest and relax. It is also the best time to take a few moments to invest in your home. There are many simple tasks you can do now, that will save time in the spring when you are twice as busy.

            The kids are back in school and off to college. That makes it a good time to get back to work in the yard and garden. Especially if you have put your outdoor living projects off this summer because of bonding, vacations and sports programs…...or hot, dry weather.

            Our yards definitely DID suffer this summer. Thank goodness, the hottest month of the year is now behind us. Well, there is no better time to renovate and reseed than during this month of September. In fact, the perfect window of opportunity for lawn growth is August 15 - October 15. Even though it may be hot and dry, it is the perfect time of year to aerate and over seed established yards.

Blades of grass

            The process should be done as follows: Cut the lawn a little shorter than normal (2-3 inches). Then run over the yard with a core aerator (this machine pulls plugs out of the ground about the size of your little finger). This whole process works best after a good rain or a deep watering. The core aeration process helps with the soil aeration, lessens soil compaction and makes for better, stronger grass root systems. Now, run a renovator over the area. This machine slices the ground with many little teeth and will break down the dirt clods from the core aeration process and bring up any dead thatch in the area.

            You are ready to sow your grass seed and add fertilizer.  For a 50% stand of grass or less, you will not need additional cover such as straw. If you are over seeding bare areas or new lawn areas, you will need to straw these areas to hold moisture for seed protection. For the specific grass seed type, shop for seed specific to your area of need: shade, sun, part-shade and sun, etc

            Add a Winterizer fertilizer to the entire area in late October or November. This whole process will “promise” you a beautiful strong lawn for spring of next year. Water is, of course, essential for this growth if Mother Nature does not cooperate. New lawn installations are also best at this time of year as well. 


Trees and Shrubs at Hillermanns

            Fall in Missouri is the ideal time of year to plant all kinds of things from cool-season vegetables to turf grasses, and especially shrubs, evergreens or deciduous trees. Yet, when it comes to planting, many gardeners only think of the spring. Why is fall such an ideal time to plant? First, the warm soil in the fall helps encourage root growth. The roots continue to grow through our mild winters becoming well established by the spring. This makes fall plantings much better equipped to handle our heat and drought once summer finally arrives. Plus, our fall and spring rains help do the work in establishing your plants, so you don’t have to do as much. During this time, there is also fewer pests and disease problems to attack your plant while it is young.

            Planting trees in the fall of the year is perfect timing to get better results. Choosing varieties for that special spot should be given some thought.  You will help the environment, lower your electric bills, and enhance your property value.

Fall Home Color Gardens

            Now turn your focus to Fall Decorations….and change the Curb Appeal of your yard by giving it a face-lift for fall. Change out those summer containers and flowerbeds with fall bedding plants that work long into the fall season, which in our case here in Missouri can be thru mid November. You should be able to find such plants as pansies, ornamental cabbage, kale, ornamental grasses, hardy garden mums and MUCH more. Don’t forget to add in straw, corn stalks, pumpkins and gourds to give it a complete look. Extend the look of your outdoor room and enjoy the extended season.

            Fall bulbs are available now and should be considered for spring color in your garden! So start thinking ahead to next year and get in on the action now.

            *For additional information about fall gardening and tips, check out the following website:

Time to go………..See you in the Garden
Sandi Hillermann McDonald