Many Louisiana gardeners wait until spring to buy their fruit trees, shrubs and vines to plant in their landscapes.

But fall is really a great time to do this, and nurseries and garden centers generally have a good selection of fruiting plants this time of the year, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill.

The great advantage of planting in the fall is the plants get to establish over the cool, moist winter months. And come spring, they’re ready to go.

Gill cautions to be sure to choose fruit varieties that are well-adapted to where you garden in Louisiana. Gill says we can grow a wide variety of fruits, from apples, pears, peaches and plums to blueberries and nectarines, not to mention citrus.

To find out what grows best where you are, AgCenter extension offices have a free publication called “The Louisiana Home Orchard.” You also visit lsuagcenter.com and put “home orchard” in the search box for the online version.

One of the most common problems people have with fruit trees is suckers that grow out from the root stock. All of the fruit trees grown here are grafted, meaning the root stock is one kind of a fruiting tree and the “good” fruit tree is the upper part.

“Check the trunk, and you’ll usually see a bulge or a little crook in the trunk where the graft was made,” Gill says.

Never let anything grow from this lower part of the trunk, he says.

Prune off growths flush with the trunk to make sure the upper portion of the tree remains healthy and productive.

Upcoming events

Celebrate Halloween in a different way at the Night Maze and Bonfire Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge.

The family-oriented event will provide fun for youngsters of all ages all day and into the night. Visitors are invited to come dressed in their Halloween costumes.

Activities will feature a farm animal petting zoo, pumpkin painting, hay mountain climb, corn maze, hayride and a giant slingshot. The evening will conclude with a bonfire with s’mores and music. Admission is $10; free for children age 3 and younger. Admission includes concession tickets for purchasing corn dogs, popcorn and drinks from Burden Horticulture Society volunteers.

Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.