Spring Ahead by Planting This Fall

Fall can be the ideal time to plant, what with warmer soil, milder temperatures and more rainfall giving your plants more time to establish root systems.

| August 20, 2010

By late summer, most flowering plants have ceased blooming. The vibrant colors of summer have given way to the subdued tones of autumn. But if you’re tempted to put your yard and garden on hiatus as the days grow cooler and autumn approaches, think again.

 “Spring gets most of the attention, but in many ways fall is the ideal planting season,” says David Salman, president and chief horticulturist of High Country Gardens. “Mid-August (in very cold climates) through mid-October, is an excellent time to plant cold-hardy perennials, shrubs and trees. With the arrival of spring, plants transplanted in the fall are larger and more vigorous than spring plantings because of a larger, thriving root system.”


Growing the roots

For most plants, root growth begins during the spring growing season and then slows during the heat of summer. Then, root growth picks up again during cooler fall weather and continues until the ground freezes. With the arrival of spring, plants established from fall planting will get off to a faster start and have a better show of flowers than the same plant transplanted that spring.

Planting in the fall gives plants well-established root systems that are better equipped to handle next spring’s dehydrating winds and summer’s intense heat. This is especially beneficial in regions of the country with harsh, erratic weather. And remember to put down a thick layer of mulch to “tuck in” fall transplants for the winter. In dry winter climates, regular monthly watering is also helpful.

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