As we have been telling you, fall planting works so incredibly well because the soil has had all summer long to absorb the heat from the sun. When you plant new plants, you want them to make new roots into your soil as soon as possible.
There is good reason that Fall planting is so great and the most obvious one is the warm soil. Think about planting first thing in the spring and just how much cooler the soil may be compared with now. In the fall the warm soils coax those new roots to form almost immediately.
The cooler air temperatures slow down the top growth of the plants and many that we are shipping are showing fall color. So, cool air, and warm soil = new roots! Yay, new roots!
New roots can form very late into the fall or even early winter. It takes a long time for the cold temperatures to go down into the soil and newly planted plants are going to take advantage of that long extended root producing season.
Adding a two to three-inch layer of shredded mulch over the roots of the plants after planting this fall extends that root development season even longer. The addition of mulch prevents the cold from going into the soil as it insulates the soil a bit later into the season. The mulch also conserves moisture and can prevent some weed growth even this fall.
Fall planting is also a great time of the year when moisture is many times more plentiful in a lot of areas and the plants themselves begin to start using less moisture, so it allows the plants to better establish. Fall planted plants that have time to make new roots will act like a plant that has been in the ground for a whole year next spring when it begins to grow. Fall planting = jump on spring. Win – win.
Another benefit is that Nature Hills has partnered with some growers that produce bare root plants for us. If you are not familiar with bare root plants, they are plants dug from the fields by shaking off all the soil from the roots. Those plants are then stored in huge coolers where they can be shipped from now until next spring. The coolers keep the plants dormant and we then water the roots and the humidity is kept very high. Check with our staff or on our website to see when bare root plants can be shipped.
The beauty of bare root planting is that the plants are less expensive, easy to handle and to plant. Again, the fall planting of bare root plants going in the ground will stall make new roots and those plants will take off next spring like they have been in the ground for a whole year. Consider bare root this fall or next spring.
Anything that you planted new in your landscape this year from early spring right up until now would love some attention. Watering new plantings is super important right up until the plants go dormant for winter.
Trees and shrubs continue to make new roots and if they are not getting sufficient water, it is important to add additional water to keep the plants hydrated right to the end of the season.
Some plants are native to wetter or are more of a lowland species and those plants will particularly appreciate the extra care to see that they have enough moisture. Some plants that do appreciate having good soil moisture right up until the ground freezes include Ash, Birch, Larch, Red Maples, Cottonless Cottonwood, Black Walnut, Swamp White and Pin Oaks, Redbud, Sweet Gum, Tuliptree and Ginkgo, plus remember some shrubs like Viburnum, Red Twigged Dogwood. Arborvitae and really any evergreen or broadleaved evergreens (especially if newly planted) will appreciate having excellent soil moisture right up until the ground freezes.
So, before you put that hose away for the winter…. take a bit of time to water the roots of your newly planted plant materials to insure good survivability.
There is still plenty of time to plant spring flowering bulbs and nothing could be easier than planting our new bulb pads with perfect combinations and super variety. Check them out here.
Don’t forget too there is still time to bust open a few heads of garlic into individual cloves and plant them about 2-3 inches deep in a sunny location for an excellent crop of garlic next June. Don’t use the cloves from the store but from your local markets where they have not been treated (for best results).
Rose care should be delayed as you do want your rose bushes to be exposed to the cold and frosts to help those plants to go dormant before you do any winter protection. Have a few bags of shredded mulch ready to go for the best overwintering rose tips to be covered in our next blog.