In our area, fall is the ideal time to plant all kinds of things from cool-season veggies, turf grasses and perennials to both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Yet, strangely, when it comes to planting, many homeowners think only of spring.
Fall officially begins with the autumnal equinox in late September. Basically, the ideal period for fall planting is roughly six weeks before the first hard frost (Average for us is around October 17th).
When Fall is here, the weather is becoming cooler, and we gardeners are migrating back outdoors after the heat of summer. At one time or another, most everyone has heard the saying "Fall is for Planting", and it's true! In addition to planting pansies, garden mums and other perennials, fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs in the landscape. Contrary to popular belief, it may be the best season to plant trees and shrubs, surpassing even the spring.
Why is fall planting so good for plants?
In the fall, the warm soil encourages root growth. Roots continue to grow through the winter until the ground freezes, or in areas with mild winters such as ours, roots may continue to grow.
In early spring, roots begin new growth or continue to develop at a faster rate, and top growth begins. While the same plant planted in spring gets a slow start due to cool soils, the fall-planted plants are becoming well established.. When summer finally arrives, the fall-planted plant is far better equipped to deal with heat and drought, largely due to its well-established root system.
Of course, there are plenty of other good reasons to plant in the fall, too, such as dependable rainfall, cooler weather and fewer pest and disease problems. In addition, many plants are on sale at nurseries, which makes fall planting good for you, too.
What to Plant in the Fall?
As your summer flowers fade away, there are lots of plants that you can plant for fall color. You can plant hardy Mums,
ornamental Cabbage and Kale, and Pansies. Most people think of planting Pansies in the spring. You can get two seasons from Pansies if you plant them in the fall.
They love the cool weather and will be very colorful through the fall. They will lie dormant through most of the winter, but will spring up on warm days and show their faces. Next spring, since they are established, they will be even bigger and more beautiful than any planted in the spring.
Fall is the best time of the year to plant grass seed. The warm soil and cool air are ideal for establishing new grass. If you are going to renovate your lawn and you have to eliminate weeds, get going. You need at least two weeks to make sure that you have most of the weeds eliminated in your yard, before you start to plant your seed. This is the best time to plant your new seed to have it established this fall.
Fall is the best time of the year to feed your existing lawn. The best time of the year to feed your lawn, especially fescue lawns, is once around Labor Day and a second feeding at Thanksgiving. You can get into the habit of doing this, you shouldn't have to do any feeding the rest of the year. Use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, that is the first number on the bag.
So whether it is for your own personal comfort, or to get a jump on next spring, Fall is a great time to plant!