Although many homeowners are beginning to think about the end of the gardening season I am thinking about all I can get accomplished. Soon our nights will become cooler and the trees will turn their signature shades of yellow and red before shedding their leaves completely. The annual flowers and tropical plants we bought in May will soon melt away with the cooler weather. On the surface, it is easy to look around in the fall and believe that the gardening season has come to a close. However, any seasoned gardener knows that the coming months are some of the best planting months Mother Nature has to offer.
Why Plant in the Fall?
- Cooler temperatures cause plants to stop growing leaves and instead push out new root growth, which helps them to establish themselves before winter.
- Rainfall increases this time of year too, naturally helping new plants get hydrated.
Planting in the fall does have some risks depending on what, and how late in the year you are planting. In fact, the most common reason for a plant’s death over the winter is due to winter desiccation which is when a plant loses moisture over the winter faster than it can replace it.
Follow these guidelines to help protect your plantings from drying out over the winter.
- When planting in the fall do not winterize your irrigation systems until much later in the season to ensure the plantings are well watered.
- Use an anti-desiccant spray to coat your evergreens’ leaves. This will help reduce how quickly they lose moisture in the winter.
- Mulch your new plantings with 2” of shredded mulch around the drip line of the plants to help reduce moisture loss in the soil below.
- Do not fertilize with a quick release fertilizer, this will result with the plants pushing out what looks like new healthy leaves, however look around the landscape at established plants. This is not the time of year to be growing leaves, this false injection of Nitrogen will shock plants causing lots of damage and death to your new garden additions.
Fall is my favorite time to be outside in the garden with friends and family enjoying the cooler weather, fall festivals, changing leaves, and crisp nights. All of this time spent outside means I am constantly looking out into my yard and thinking about all of the work I’d love to do. Now is the time be planting so that come next Spring you already have established plants growing, there to welcome you into a new flowering season.
Learn more about our Landscape Design/Build Department and how we can help you to keep your landscape in optimum condition throughout the year. Whether you need help applying an anti-desiccant spray, pruning or mulching, Hicks Landscapes can help. Learn more about Hicks Landscape Design here or by calling 516-334-0068.
By Sean, Maher, Hicks Landscapes Designer