Fall is for planting!

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Wait…. Really?  I thought spring was the season for planting new shrubs and trees? 

Actually, fall is by far best time to plant!

In the spring, everyone gets the planting bug. Garden centers are loaded with colorful plants that often unfairly entice you into taking them home.  Unfortunately, new plants struggle through the summer, often not living up to the way they looked in the garden center and leave us disappointed.

Maybe we need to change our thinking.  

Could it be spring isn’t the best time to add to your landscape, but rather fall is? 

Four reasons why fall is better for planting than spring

 

1.     Warm Soil Equals Root Growth

Soil temperatures remain warm well into the fall and early winter resulting in root development.  Shrubs and trees put their energy into growing roots more in the fall than any other time of the year.  Fall planted landscape materials have more time for the root system to become established before the onset of summer heat.  Plants installed in the spring don’t have the root system needed for growth and spend the first summer just trying to survive.     

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3.     Fall Weather Brings More Moisture

New shrubs and trees require supplemental watering.  During the fall and winter new plants need at least 1” of moisture per week, which is likely to occur from rainfall.   In the summer, new plants often need 2” or more of water to survive.  Chances are much greater you will be spending time hand watering your spring planted shrubs and trees than you will fall planted ones. 

Plant a Japanese Maple this fall and have more red in your landscape next spring when leaves emerge.

Plant a Japanese Maple this fall and have more red in your landscape next spring when leaves emerge.

4.     Head Start on Next Year  

Fall planted materials can gain an entire year of development over plants installed in the spring and summer.  Because fall plants will start developing roots now, they will be ready to grow next spring while spring plantings will grow little until they develop roots in the fall.  It has been my experience that a 3-gallon shrub planted in the fall will be the same size as a 5-gallon shrub planted in the spring after one season.  Save money.  Plant in the fall.  

Crape Myrtles planted in the fall will bloom more their first season than ones planted in the spring or summer.

Crape Myrtles planted in the fall will bloom more their first season than ones planted in the spring or summer.

Plant perennials in the fall for great early blooms next spring.

Plant perennials in the fall for great early blooms next spring.

2.     Cool Days Are Less Stressful

Warm days are hard on all plants and are particularly hard on the newly planted.  New plants without a developed root system are more susceptible to moisture loss resulting in desiccated leaves and roots.

 
When azalea are planted in the fall the establish roots and bloom well the next spring.

When azalea are planted in the fall the establish roots and bloom well the next spring.

Japanese Maple in the spring.

Japanese Maple in the spring.

Planting creeping phlox this fall will give you a carpet of color in the spring.

Planting creeping phlox this fall will give you a carpet of color in the spring.

 

Yes, most shrubs and trees can be planted year-round and because they can, we typically plant at any time.  But, the ideal time to add new plants to your landscape is September through December in Oklahoma.  For deciduous trees the best time to plant is during winter dormancy, December through March. 

Remember, your landscape has a big impact on home value and greatly impacts your curb appeal. 

Plant something new this fall. 

You won’t be disappointed.

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

(405)367-3873