In much of the country, fall is the ideal time to plant all kinds of things from cool-season veggies, turf grasses and perennials to both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Yet, strangely, when it comes to planting, many homeowners think only of spring.
“Before I explain why fall planting is so good for plants, let me first take a stab at attempting to define fall,” says master gardener Paul James. Fall officially begins with the autumnal equinox in late September, but fall weather varies considerably from one part of the country to the next. Basically, the ideal period for fall planting is roughly six weeks before the first hard frost. And in northern areas of the country, the ideal planting period might even be late summer. In general, the window of opportunity for most folks is during September and October.
Why is fall planting so good for plants? In the fall, the warm soil encourages root growth. Roots continue to grow through the winter until the ground freezes, or in areas with mild winters, roots may continue to grow. In early spring, roots begin new growth or continue to develop at a faster rate, and top growth begins. While the same plant planted in spring gets a slow start due to cool soils, the fall-planted plants are becoming well established. Hence, the spring-planted plant on the right lags. When summer finally arrives, the fall-planted plant is far better equipped to deal with heat and drought, largely due to its well-established root system.
Of course, there are plenty of other good reasons to plant in the fall, too, such as dependable rainfall, cooler weather and fewer pest and disease problems. In addition, many plants are on sale at nurseries, which makes fall planting good for you, too.
“Planting in the Fall.” Planting in the Fall : Outdoors : Home & Garden Television. HGTV, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/fall-planting-is-good-for-plants/index.html>.
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