Planting in Fall

The Nursery Council says, “Fall is for Planting” – Trees, Shrubs, Bulbs, Lawns and Flowers.   Fall is actually one of the best times to plant.  Why?  Many reasons.


First, the soils are warm in fall.  Warm soil temps are necessary to encourage new root formation into the planting hole to help establish the tree, shrub, bulb or flower.  Secondly, air temperatures have begun to drop off from the 90’s and 100’s of August and encourage new growth for the shoots.  Third, in fall, a more regular watering pattern is the norm, unlike the spring.


Fall offers the opportunity to replace plants that have been damaged from summer heat and drought.  Look around your landscape.  You probably have “holes” that need to be filled.  Take the opportunity to add a shrub or two to a grouping, or to create one.  If you have a nice, healthy dogwood or viburnum by itself, add two more to make a mass of 3.  The impact of the spring flowers will be much more impressive when viewed in mass.


Finally, fall planting offers the advantage of bargains at the garden center.  In most years, fall specials have been commonplace as garden centers try to avoid keeping plants over the winter with hopes of selling them in the spring.  The prospect of obtaining that tree you’ve been wanting becomes a little easier at 25% off the regular price.

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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