Many people think that as cooler autumn temperatures creep in, it’s time to stop gardening and start putting our gardens to bed for the winter. Not so! Fall is an ideal time for planting. Trees and shrubs pull energy away from their foliage and start focusing more on root development. The weather is cool but the soil is still warm enough for root development, daylight is gentler, and autumn rains typically keep the soil nicely moist. Trees, shrubs, perennials, lawns, vegetables, lawn grass, and yes, even annuals, love this kind of weather. You can install plants anytime before the ground freezes deeply (usually in December), and they will root best in soil temperatures of 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. So use this window of time to get planting!
What to Plant?
Spring bulbs: See our blog post on how to plant and protect your spring bulbs.
Lawn grass: Aerate, dethatch, overseed, and fertilize your lawn. Repair damaged patches with strips of sod as needed. (We are currently selling sod for $6.99 per 10 cubic feet.)
Trees and shrubs: Most deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, including fruits, can easily be planted in fall. We recommend and carry SuperThrive, a very effective and non-toxic root stimulator. One note: avoid planting evergreens in late fall because they keep their foliage all winter, and with younger root systems, will be more susceptible to drying out when the soil is frozen and the winds are blowing. (We are currently offering 30% Off all boxwoods, fruits, and small-leafed rhododendrons.)
Perennials: Most cold-hardy perennials can be planted in fall. The earlier the better. We recommend you plant before the middle of September for best root system development.
Annuals: You do not have to say goodbye to the bold colors of your pots and planters just yet! Many cold-loving annuals will perform beautifully well into November. Pansies, mums, petunia, verbena, nemesia, alyssum, scaevola, calibrachoa, and sunflower, to name just a few. Flowering will slow as the days shorten, but you can leverage the ornamental features and foliage of cabbage, pepper, beets, sedge, grass, millet, eucalyptus, dusty miller, heuchera, ajuga, sedum, wormwood, ivy, and celosia, to provide that vivid color.
Fall vegetables can be used to harvest delicious food, and also as ornamentals in your planters and borders. Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, lettuce, radish, rutabaga, spinach, chard, and beets, to name only a few.
Caring for Newly Installed Plants
Water: Provide supplemental water when needed. Water all plants thoroughly after planting, and continue to water them as needed until the ground freezes.
Mulch: Just as you pile on blankets and quilts when the temperatures dip, mulch acts as insulation for plants.
Be patient: You won’t see much top growth emerge on fall-planted shrubs, but this is actually a good thing: the plant is focusing on its root development. That’s exactly what you want, so be patient, and let the plant get settled in to its new home.
So get out there and plant! Let’s enjoy every minute we can before that snow gets here!