Many people think spring is the only season to plant. Spring allows plenty of time for a plant to root, grow and for us to enjoy it’s beauty in the same season. We get it, and spring is an ideal time to plant however, fall is for planting too and there are many benefits to planting perennials, trees and shrubs late in the season. Read on below to learn the benefits of fall planting and with the patience of a gardener, you’ll reap the rewards the following spring.
Benefits of Fall Planting
The Temperatures are “Just Right”
The cooler temperatures of fall reduce heat stress on newly planted plants and signals plants to direct energy into their roots. For us gardeners, cooler days reduce our stress of working outdoors in summer’s heat. In spring planting is not recommended until soil temperatures are above 50 degrees. In the fall, the soil has been thoroughly warmed through the spring and summer seasons, warmed up to the perfect temperature to plant. Do not expect much, if any top growth on newly planted fall plants, all the magic is happening beneath the soil in the roots. Warm soil temperatures encourage root growth and roots will continue to grow until the ground freezes. Plants planted in the fall will have a head start on root development, resulting in strong, vigorous growth come next spring.
Minnesota is known for it’s unpredictable spring weather. It could snow, it could freeze, it could be a hundred degrees and there could be severe thunderstorms. In fall, the atmosphere is more settled which allows for calmer and more consistent weather. Calm, consistent weather provides more planting days, gentler rains and less stress to newly planted plants. Fall also brings additional rainfall, which means less water input and plants’ roots will absorb more nutrients.
Fewer Insects and Weeds
The cool temperatures of fall bring a drop in insect activity. There will be less mosquitos to feed on you and less other insects to feed on your new plants. In addition to less bugs, many annual broadleaf weeds have completed their life cycle and will not be in competition for sunlight, water and nutrients with your plants.
End of Season Savings
An added benefit to fall planting not often considered is the savings. Garden centers do not like to overwinter plants and will generally offer “end of season” sales on perennials, trees and shrubs. Fall is a great time to install a new garden for less money!
Tips for Fall Planting
With new vigor to get to fall gardening below are some tips to ensure what you plant this fall greets you with it’s beauty next spring.
- Water, water, water
Any newly planted perennials, trees or shrubs (especially evergreens) should be consistently watered until the ground freezes. It is of upmost importance to keep the roots moist and plump for growth and nutrient absorption. For more information on watering newly planted trees and shrubs visit the University of Minnesota website.
Plants are the hungriest in the fall preparing for winter and fall is the optimal time to fertilize. Read our blog on fall fertilizing and give your new plants the food they need to prepare for winter.
Adding a layer of mulch to new plants helps to stabilize soil temperatures and hold moisture. This protects roots during the winter and holds vital moisture to keep roots plump.
Gardening is not just for spring. Relax next spring and enjoy a winter looking forward to a beautiful garden. With all the benefits of planting in the fall, get outside and get growing.