Plan Ahead with Fall Planting

Fall feels like a time for winding down and closing the book on the growing season. This season, however, offers an amazing opportunity to lay the groundwork for the future of your landscape.

It's easy to put off thinking about next year until spring actually arrives. The problem is that spring is a bad time to plant new trees and shrubs. Spring tends to be overly rainy, which makes it difficult for new plants to establish their roots. Immature plants that are planted in the spring struggle to gain a foothold. This lack of viable roots becomes a real problem once summer arrives. Without hearty roots to store moisture, spring plantings can be easily scorched in the dry summer heat.

Plants that go in during the fall are well equipped for long-term success. Fall tends to be mild temperature-wise and relatively dry. These conditions are extremely hospitable for immature trees and shrubs that are just settling into their new homes. Autumn is a time when all plants begin to focus on root growth instead of top growth. New plants are able to establish viable roots before winter dormancy. By next spring, fall plantings are ready for vigorous growth and will be mature enough to withstand a stressful summer.

Trees and shrubs are prominent features of your landscape and some of the most expensive. To get the most out of your investment, it pays to take advantage of Mother Nature's schedule. Planting new additions in the fall allows your trees and shrubs to thrive in the spring and for many years to come.

Pick Up The Pieces

A winter vacation from yard work makes sense. Simply put, there's not that much to be done after your lawn has gone dormant for the winter. Remember, though, that just like it’s nice to come home to a clean house after a trip, a yard that’s been tidied up this fall will be a pleasure next spring.

Cleaning up your lawn this fall will make it look better all winter long. Just removing fallen leaves and other debris will make a big difference, as dead growth can encourage pests and fungus. You can also retain good grass color by mowing the lawn short for its final mowings.

The plants in your landscape benefit from some pre-winter attention, too. If you have tender bulbs in your yard, dig them up and ready them for storage. Hardy spring bulbs can be planted now for a glorious display in a few months. Most perennials will benefit from being cut back now. Expired annuals should be removed, and all planting beds should be prepared for next year.

Fresh mulch does double duty through the winter by protecting tender plants and adding to a neat and clean winter appearance. Finally, you may want to consider spraying any plants that will be exposed to drying winds with an antidesiccant to retain moisture. Now is also a good time to plan dormant and off-season pruning.

It's easy and tempting to forget about your lawn once the days become shorter and colder. A comprehensive fall cleanup is a healthy step that pays dividends in the spring.


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