Fall is the ideal season for planting many kinds of plants, especially deciduous trees, shrubs, perennial flowers and ornamental grasses. Cooler temperatures and increased rainfall help the plant’s roots become well established. The soil is still warm in the fall, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes. For the same reason, fall is a great time to plant turf. Other benefits of fall planting include: fewer insects and disease problems that could damage your new tree or shrub and reduced pricing from nurseries and garden centers trying to sell merchandise before the winter. Before you purchase every plant on your list, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Will the plant grow where you want to place it? Make sure to read the plant or tree’s label thoroughly to see if it is a good choice for the location you have in mind. In addition to exposure and moisture, other considerations include: soil needs, humidity preference, wind and heat tolerance, storm resilience and growth rate.
2. Is the plant the right size for the job? Are you looking for a focal point, a lot of shade or a windbreak? You will need to choose the correct plant size that will achieve your goals. Select a plant that won’t outgrow its designated space once it’s mature. You will save money and time down the road if you “right size” your landscaping.
3. Does the plant work with your “theme”? Choose plants and palettes that work with your landscaping theme. Succulents and sculptured shapes work well in a Mediterranean-style space, but a xeriscape will incorporate completely different plants.
4. Choose plants that you can commit to. Some plants require more attention than others. Maintenance takes time and money and you need to be willing to fertilize, treat for pests and diseases and prune. If you aren’t willing to commit, choose plants that don’t require a great deal of attention.
Fall is a great time to plant. When spring arrives, your plants will be established and ready to grow strong leaves, new top growth and abundant flowers. Planting in the fall means better plants and less work in the spring.