Enjoyed your article and am preparing to do some planting while there's still time. I have a few (or more) questions and if you would be kind enough to answer some or all, I will love you forever. 1} When/if I cover plants with sheets and frost cloth, does it hurt if the material actually touches the plants or do I need to put some poles or hoops or whatever around the plants so that the fabric doesn't touch them? 2) I have 2 large red oaks and a cluster of Chinese Pistache trees, all of which means that I have mostly shade except for when the leaves (and acorns) begin to fall, about now. Should I continue to stick with ferns, heucheras, and other shade plants, or is this a good time to establish a few sun lovers? Right now I am seeing absolutely beautiful grasses in the nurseries. I know they like sun, but could they acclimate now and then live in more shade during our hot summers? 3) This might be the same question as the previous one, but I'll ask anyway. I love lantana and grow it in pots (note the 's'). Do you think it might be worth the effort to plant some in what is now sun but will later be shadier? 4) Ok. I don't really expect an answer to this but if anyone knows a way to catch acorns before the acorns fall all over my yard and garden, I'd love to hear it. Thanks so much for any guidance that you can provide. (And yes, I know I tend to ramble.)
1) If you can provide support around your plants before applying frost cloth, that is preferable - it allows the warm air trapped under the cover to circulate better. (Cloth cover is always better than plastic.) Watering your plants before a freeze helps a lot too.
2) Sun lovers planted in shade will probably be ok, they just won't be 100% happy and live to their full size and potential. Anything that usually blooms may not. An alternative (and I'm about to do this to my own Chinese Pistache) is to have the tree trimmed and thinned to allow more sun to come through when the tree is leafed out.
3) I don't think lantana would be very happy in shade - may be worth experimenting with, though. Maybe put one in shade and another in sun and see what happens.
4) Hire some squirrels. ;)