Four Great Reasons for Fall Planting

on Sunday, 12 September 2021.

So What's The Big Deal About Fall Planting?

Reasons for Fall Planting smBy 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.


CercidiphyllumWatering 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.


Pollinators on SolidagoSome 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 selectionGreat 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.

Ten Shade Trees for Great Fall Color

on Saturday, 11 September 2021. Posted in Landscape contractor

These Trees Will Brighten Up Your Yard in Fall

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." - Chinese Proverb

This is especially true if you're interested in finding a shade tree that also provides good fall color. The trees here at Shooting Star will be starting to color up soon, so you can wander the nursery to soak up the fall color and make your selections. Here are ten of our favorite "fall color" trees to get you started - arranged in size from small to mid-sized to large. 


 Small Trees (under 30'):

Autumn brillianceAutumn Brilliance Serviceberry (20' x 15') - Serviceberries offer three-season interest in the garden: clouds of white flowers in the spring, blue-purple berries in the summer, and bright red leaves in the fall. 

Paperbark Maple (25' x 20') - Delicate-looking compound leaves turn red in the fall, shaggy exfoliating bark provides winter interest. A great maple selection for smaller spaces!

Vanessa Parrotia (28' x 14') - A small, upright tree that turns warm shades of orange and red. Great choice for small yards or as a street tree.


Medium-sized Trees (30-40'):

Native Flame Hornbeam (30' x 20') -  This heat-tolerant eastern native turns orange-red to bright red in fall, and the canopy has a nice oval shape.Chinese Pistache

Chinese Pistache (30' x 30') - Chinese Pistache does beautifully in our hot, dry summers and turns a brilliant orange-red in fall. 

Red Rage Tupelo (35' x 20') - Turns a glossy, copper-red - truly stunning. Tupelos are also tolerant of poorly drained soils.


Large Trees (40'+):

Autumn Purple Ash (45' x 40') -  Colors can vary each year from a yellow-orange to a deep purple. While the color can be changeable, the effect is always lovely.

Sun Valley Maple (40' x 35') -  A bright red seedless variety of Maple. 

Maple fall colorOctober Glory Maple (40' x 35') - The name says it all! This is the latest variety of maple to color up in fall, and can really help stretch out the fall display in your yard. Foliage ranges from deep red to red-purple.

Autumn Blaze Maple (50' x 40') - If you're in the market for a big, colorful shade tree, this is the one for you! Turns a brilliant shade of orange-red, and the color is fairly long-lasting. As an extra bonus, Autumn Blaze tends to be more drought tolerant than other maples.





Four Great Native Shrubs for Your Garden

on Wednesday, 23 June 2021.

A recent hike along a popular local trail reminded us that these four great native shrubs – three of which can be found blooming in the woodlands around the Rogue Valley in late June and early July – are great additions to our gardens. All four are deciduous, fragrant, and wildlife friendly; and they all prefer light shade and are not at all fussy about soil type. Next time you’re looking for a new shrub for your yard, why not consider going native?

HolodiscusHolodiscus discolor (Oceanspray) – What a wonderfully descriptive common name for a truly lovely shrub! This member of the Rose family is covered with sprays of sweetly fragrant, frothy white flowers in the early summer. If you look more closely, you’ll notice that each spray is composed of dozens of exquisite little five-petaled flowers. Depending on your site conditions, Oceanspray can grow anywhere from 3-15’ tall and will get about 6’ wide. It is fast growing, deer resistant, and fairly drought tolerant once established and is a wonderful plant for hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and a variety of other beneficial insects.


PhiladelphusPlantPhiladelphus lewisii (Mock Orange) – This plant was named after Meriweather Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark expedition (extra plant-nerd trivia: the genus Lewisia is also named after Lewis, and the genus Clarkia was named after William Clark). You will likely smell Mock Orange before you see it – it is abundant along Lithia Creek and in the Jacksonville Woodlands - and it really does smell like orange blossoms! Simple, snowy-white 4-petaled flowers with bright golden anthers blanket the shrub in early summer. At maturity, Mock Orange will get 5-12’ tall by about 6’ wide. The bark gets attractively shaggy as the plant ages; providing good winter interest in the garden. Butterflies and other pollinators love it, relatively deer resistant (although may be browsed when its younger). Drought tolerant when established.


Nootka RoseRosa nutkana (Nootka Rose) – There’s something delightful about the simplicity of our native roses – just five dusty-pink petals, surrounding a bright golden eye. But despite its relatively small individual flowers, Nootka Rose blooms abundantly and has a rich and heady fragrance. Summer flowers are followed by bright orange hips in fall – popular with birds, and a great source of Vitamin C for humans. Nootka Rose grows in full sun or part shade, and gets about 7’ tall by 3-5’ wide. Left to their own devices, the plants will spread via root suckers and form thickets – good for bird nesting habitat, and making for a good hedge if you want to keep critters/people from walking through part of your yard! Plants prefer moderate water, and Nootka Rose is a good pollinator plant and a host plant for butterfly larvae.


Calycanthus occidentalis cropCalycanthus occidentalis (Spice Bush) – As the common name suggests, the flowers of this plant have a wonderfully spicy fragrance that smells a bit like mulled wine – particularly on a warm summer afternoon; while the bark smells like camphor. The flowers of Spice Bush are a beautiful reddish/purplish-brown and look like miniature waterlilies. There’s only one record for Calycanthus in the wild in Jackson County, but they do occur just south of us in Shasta County. Plants grow anywhere between 3-12’ tall and wide, depending upon conditions, and they are pollinated by beetles! Prefers part shade and moderate water, and is somewhat deer resistant.