Fall Planting Gives Your Landscape a Healthy Head Start

Fall Planting Gives Your Landscape a Healthy Head Start

The weather is turning cooler, which means it’s time to get out in the yard and do some planting – right?

While it might sound counterintuitive, the best time to plant a new tree, shrub or perennial actually is in the fall. When a plant is put into the ground in autumn, it may be facing the cold above ground; but in the Midwest, root growth continues until deep soil temperature drops below 40 degrees.

If you plant a shrub in spring, it must acclimate itself to its new home and begin growing immediately. At the same time, it has to produce leaves, flowers, and then endure the rapidly arriving summer heat.

Plant the same shrub in fall, and it will become happily dormant above ground soon after planting. But the roots will have several months to grow and become comfortable and strong in their new home.

When spring arrives, the plant is established and ready to put out strong leaves, new growth, and lots of flowers! Fall planting gives your plant’s roots a wonderful head start.

For newly planted and established plants, fall fertilization is very important. If you only fertilize once a year, do it in the fall.

Spring is still when you’ll find the greatest selection of shrubs and trees. But most nurseries and garden centers are beginning to recognize the value of fall planting and making special efforts to provide their customers with the best selection throughout the fall and early winter season.

When selecting those special plants for your landscape, look for healthy, well-grown plants. Always buy from a reputable nursery with an experienced staff. These nurseries are in the business of selling service year-round. In turn, they depend on loyal customers’ continued confidence in their business.

Plants come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, colors, but the most important thing to consider is the quality of what you’re purchasing. It’s important to inspect plants individually. Shopping by phone or looking for the cheapest price can be a costly mistake when it comes to buying new landscape plants. Many times you will find that not all nurseries and garden centers are created equal.

A new tree or shrub can be a large physical investment. Why not give your new plant the best possible chance of survival? Get outside and take advantage of this fall planting season!  

A version of this article has appeared on Allisonville Nursery's website.

About this Experts contributor: Greg Moberg is a Master Gardener and Nursery Manager at Allisonville Nursery in Fishers, which has been serving customers since 1976. You can follow this contributor on Twitter @AllisonvilleNur and on Google+.

As of  November 3, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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Avid gardeners can do more than pull up annuals in the fall as it is a perfect time to get a jump start planting and preparing for a colorful spring garden.

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