So What's The Big Deal About Fall Planting?
By now, you’ve probably heard that fall is the best time for planting. But did you ever wonder why? Here are the top four reasons you should consider doing the majority of your planting (and transplanting) in the fall.
Easier to Get Plants Established: When you plant in fall, top growth is already slowing and plants are beginning to go dormant for the winter. However, the soil is still warm – so roots have plenty of time to grow out and get established without having to focus their attention on supporting tender new top growth. As a result, fall-planted perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees generally put on a spectacular burst of growth the following spring because their root systems are already well developed.
Watering is Much Easier: When you plant in spring, getting your watering right is absolutely critical: your plants are growing quickly and all that tender new growth requires a lot of water to support it. If we get some unexpectedly hot spring days and plants haven’t been watered sufficiently, your plants can easily be damaged. In contrast, the cooler temperatures of fall really favor deep, infrequent watering. And, with the arrival of cold weather and winter rains you can stop watering altogether until things begin to warm up again in spring.
Some Plants Really Prefer Fall Planting: Almost all plants benefit from fall planting, but some actively prefer it. Big shade trees do best when planted in the fall, so they have the whole winter to grow out their roots before they have to support tender new leaves in spring. Drought-tolerant native plants can be really touchy about water – especially the frequent watering you need to do in spring and early summer for spring-planted natives. They’re much happier with the deep, infrequent watering you can do in fall, and will be well on their way to becoming established and drought tolerant when the next growing season comes around. When you plant pollinator-friendly plants in fall – especially those that provide larval food for butterflies – you’re planting after butterflies have finished laying their eggs for the year. By the time spring rolls around, plants are well-established and able to withstand the attentions of hungry baby caterpillars.
Great Selection! Has this ever happened to you: you go into a nursery in early spring with a big list of plants you want to add to your garden, only to end up only coming home with just one or two – because the rest weren’t ready yet? It takes plants awhile to break dormancy in spring and start growing and flowering – we’re ready for them long before they are ready for us! But by fall, those plants are beautifully established and in prime condition to be brought home and planted. Shooting Star Nursery is usually at peak availability in early fall.