Fall is for Planting

Monday, October 13th, 2008 by Jenny Watts
    • Chrysanthemums are the brightest flowers for the fall garden. Plant some now.
    • Crimson clover, fava beans and rye grass will fortify your garden soil over the winter. Seed these crops as you compost your summer vegetables.
    • Fragrant Paperwhite narcissus will bloom indoors by Thanksgiving if planted now in rocks and water.
    • Choose shade trees for fall color now and plant them while the soil is warm and easy to dig.
    • Watch out for Jack Frost! On these cold nights, cover summer vegetable plants that are still producing to extend the harvest.

Fall is for Planting!

These recent rains have created the perfect situation for fall planting! With the soil moist and the creeks starting to flow, this is a great time to put some plants in the ground.

Fall is the best time to plant, especially if you’re tackling major projects like putting in a new flower bed or border. Transplanted now, plants ease into the garden naturally. Trees, shrubs, lawns, ground covers and spring-blooming bulbs will all get established over the winter and be ready to survive their first hot summer more easily.

In the fall the soil is still warm and roots begin to grow rapidly as soon as they are planted. Cooler air temperatures put less stress on newly planted trees and shrubs, and watering needs are less. Once the rains begin in earnest, the plants receive plenty of water encouraging deep rooting as the roots continue to develop through the winter. These plants will be much more drought tolerant and not need to be watered as often next summer.

Fall is the ideal time to plant a tree — both for the gardener and the tree! The weather is cooler, so it is more enjoyable working outdoors. The tree also benefits because the soil is better able to retain moisture now than during the hot days of summer, so it becomes established easily. Trees and shrubs will show no growth above ground, but by having time to develop a strong root system over the winter, they will be ready for a major growth spurt next spring. Studies have shown that trees and shrubs planted in the fall will grow between one-and-a-half and two times as much next summer as the same tree or shrub planted next spring.

Lawns and ground covers do best when planted in the fall. The cool season grasses, which do best in this area, are most vigorous in fall and spring. By the time next summer rolls around, your lawn will be well-established and ready to enjoy. They will be able to survive on weekly deep-waterings.

Ground cover plants need to establish strong roots before they can begin top growth. This is the ideal time to plant them to get the most growth next spring and summer.

Perennial flowers like foxglove, coral bells, columbine and lupines need to live through a winter before they will bloom. When you plant them from six-packs in the spring, you have to wait a whole year to see them bloom. But if you plant them in the fall, you can enjoy their blooms next spring.

Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other spring bulbs must be planted in the fall to enjoy their beauty next spring. They need several months to develop roots before they can bloom. By choosing different varieties, you can enjoy spring flowers from late winter through spring. For an early glimpse of spring, plant crocuses and grape hyacinth. Daffodils bloom next followed by tulips, iris and alliums. Once planted, these bulbs will brighten your spring garden with their lovely colors each year and need very little care.

Fall is here, so don’t miss the best planting season of the year.