Fall Planting

Fall Planting

by Rod Smith

Former Iowa Certified Nurseryman and
Oregon Certified Nursery Professional

© 1998-2024 Rodney A. Smith
All rights reserved.

Fall is an ideal time to plant. In many ways, it is better than spring

The soil is easier to work. Fall rains soften the soil without making it soggy or sticky.

There is less transplant shock. The air is cooler so plants don't need as much water. The soil is warmer so roots grow faster to establish the plant.

The plants grow better the first year. They have several months to get established before growth begins so roots can supply plenty of water and nutrients for good growth.

Deciduous plants show their fall colors. Even plants of the same species have slightly different colored leaves. Fall is the time to pick your favorite color.

Some plants bloom in the fall and winter. Mums and anemones bloom in the fall. Camellias, heathers and fragrant daphnes bloom in the winter. Flowering kale and cabbage are the most colorful in cold weather. Pansies may bloom all year in a sheltered place.

Grass seed is easier to grow in the fall. The warm soil gets grass off to a fast start. Cool, rainy weather keeps it growing with less care.

Spring flowering bulbs must be planted in the fall. Crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, tulip and other bulbs are only available in the fall. Irises, lilies and other perennials are less expensive when planted as bulbs in the fall.

The only drawbacks to fall planting are that nurseries don't stock as many plants and early cold weather can harm newly planted plants, so start early and mulch with compost or barkdust. Evergreens should be planted before mid-October. Deciduous plants can be planted anytime the ground is workable.

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