The unofficial start of autumn will soon be upon us. If you’ve been thinking about planting any new trees and shrubs in your landscape, this is when you should finalize your design decisions. This will give you plenty of time to shop the nurseries and garden centers for your plant material.
Fall planting has a number of benefits for the plants and for you. They include:
• With more moisture, you won’t have to irrigate as often as you do in spring and summer. You may not have to irrigate at all.
• Warm days and cool nights are ideal growing conditions.
• Planting in fall gives the plants time to get established before winter. Spring plants don’t really have this establishment time before they have to battle summer heat and drought.
• Moist soil is easier to work than dry soil. This makes planting easier on your back.
Many nurseries and garden centers order new plants for fall planting. If you are looking for a bargain, you may be able to negotiate deep discounts on those that survived the summer. Personally, I’d rather pay list price and get new stock.
Planting in fall is no different from planting in spring. Select a planting site whose conditions are right for the plant you select. Remember – right plant, right place. Dig the planting hole two to three times bigger than the rootball, but only as deep. If potted, remove the plant from its pot. If balled and burlapped, remove the wire basket or rope but leave the burlap around the ball.
Set the plant in the hole and backfill, stopping occasionally to press the backfill to fill in any air pockets. Do not pile soil up against the trunk. Finally, mulch and water well.
Remember the mantra, Fall is for Planting. Your new plants will appreciate the temperate thermometer readings, more bearable humidity and the return of rain.