Traditionally, spring has been known as the planting season. However, fall is a great time to plant, too. In fact, the best way to prepare for the next year is to get a jump start in the fall.
There are many plants that can be put into the ground now including spring bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs. In this post, we’ll look at why fall is a good time to plant and what you should be planting.
Fall Has Planting Benefits
Fall actually has several planting benefits. The air is cooler, which is great for the plants and those planting them. The soil is still warm, which gives the plants time to take root before colder weather or frosts.
Fall has more good days for planting versus spring, too. In the spring, planters have to wait for the ground to warm up before digging.
Fall could be a great time to get products at closeout. You can work with your clients to let them know about the season’s great deals and why they should prep now for fall.
Rainfall in fall also helps these plants grow and thrive. Pests and disease are not as much of a threat at this time of year. You won’t need to add fertilizer either, as that promotes new growth that could be nipped by winter.
The ideal window for fall planting is around six weeks before the projected first frost in your area. This can occur anytime from late September all the way into November for warmer climates.
Think of fall planting as setting the stage for spring. Spring-blooming bulbs require a dormant period of cold to bloom, thus they do well when they are put in the ground before winter. Consider any of these spring bloomers:
- Grape hyacinth
- Siberian squill
- Dog’s-tooth violet
- Winter aconite
Pansies love to root into fall soil that is still warm. They need time for their roots to establish so it makes sense to plant them in September or October.
When you plant them in the fall, you’ll get to enjoy them in the fall and when they re-emerge in the spring. After fall, you’ll want to remove any spent flowers so that plant doesn’t use energy to set seeds. Keep them safe by mulching after the soil freezes.
If you want to establish new turfgrass, do so in the fall. Fall is the ideal time for yard rehab. There are different requirements for planting new grass depending on the environment.
For the north, cool-season grasses—bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass—can be fertilized in early September as well as again in late October. This will give the grass the boost it needs to prosper in the spring.
In the south, don’t fertilize warm-season grasses as they need to remain dormant. The only caveat is if the yard is being overseeded with winter ryegrass.
Trees and Shrubs
While you are renovating the yard and landscaping in the fall, it also makes sense to add trees and shrubs. Remember, the air may have a bit of a chill, but the soil is still warm enough for roots to develop. Be sure to plant them at their natural soil lines.
After planting, keep these trees and shrubs well-watered until there is a freeze. They’ll then go into their dormant stage before reemerging in the spring.
Get perennials into the ground in the fall, too. If your choices have large root balls, plant them sooner rather than later. Before you plant, you’ll need to prepare the soil. This is because perennial roots grow fast and deep. But don’t plant them too deep—stop right around two inches above the bud on the root. You can then add a few layers of compost, mixing it into the native dirt.
Plants like hostas and peonies can be planted, transplanted, and replanted during the fall. These plants will also need to be watered regularly until the ground freezes. They need at least one inch of water a week.
With hostas, late August or early September is best. You’ll find them to bloom in purple, blue, green, yellow, and white. It’s a rainbow of color that can make any landscaping go from lackluster to lovely. Expect hostas to bloom anytime from June to October.
Lilies are known for their spring debut. Get these into the ground from mid-September to mid-October. These are pretty low maintenance plants yet they deliver a big boost of color and beauty in spring.
Spring gardens will look refreshed when you plant irises in the fall. Irises grow in a variety of climates and have blooms in blue/purple, white/yellow, pink/orange, and more. An important part of iris planting is to ensure they receive enough light. They’ll bloom by mid-May.
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