Ask the Expert

Wisconsin State Farmer
Syncing with nature is one of the biggest garden trends for 2016 as gardening and nature combine right in the backyard. Growing a hummingbird garden is a wonderful way to sync your love and passion for wildlife and gardening at home.

Q: I've heard that you should not compost oak leaves. Is this true?

A: Oak leaves make wonderful compost. However, they do break down much more slowly than other garden materials. For this reason, be sure to supplement with plenty of other varieties of leaves, kitchen scraps and yard waste so that oak leaves are a small percentage of your total pile. 

Q: My garden center is selling bare root irises. Is this a good time to plant them? 

A: Yes, fall is the best time of year to divide and transplant existing irises, as well as planting in bare root iris orders. 

Q: My daylilies put up a lot of growth but very few flowers. Do I need to divide it?

A: Yes, it sounds like the plant needs to be divided into smaller, vigorous divisions that will send up plentiful flower scapes next year. Another reason why bloom may be reduced is too much shade. Be sure the plant is in full sun.

Q: I still have hummingbirds coming to my feeders. Should I take them down?

A: This is a personal choice. Hummingbirds continue to move through during the fall months. Many are still spotted in November, even into December. Contrary to popular believe, hummingbird feeder's do not convince hummingbirds to stay in the north. Instinct add the need to move on will lure them south when the time is right.