We all know what it feels like when spring is full to bursting in those halcyon days of April and May. What better time could there be to plant your garden? But wise gardeners know to be patient. The fall is just as good, if not better, than the spring for planting perennials, trees and shrubs. Here's five reasons why!
Warmer Soil – Even though there might be a nip in the air, the soil still keeps the warm glow of summer. By contrast, our soil is still fairly cold in spring, meaning plants can’t start growing until it warms up. The warm soil of fall means that plants can immediately start putting down roots and keep growing right up until the first freeze.
Consistent Temperature - Gone is the hot-cold yo-yo of spring time. Gone are the tempestuous hail storms of summer. In early fall, the sun tends to be less intense and air temperature tends to be more consistent, which makes for a very pleasant climate for growing plants.
(Note: As always, this is still Colorado, and early, hard frosts are not out of the question. For info on protecting new plants from frost, check out our Garden Blog)
Better Returns for Next Year - Planting in fall is like putting money in the bank. As the days grow shorter, your new plants will be focused on building up a strong root system. This increased root ball will help your new plants spring up next year bigger, healthier and bloom-ier than ever!
Less Water and Nutrients – The temperatures are cooling down instead of heating up, so your new plants will need less and less water and nutrients instead of more and more. However, it is still important to keep new plants well-watered, so keep checking them often throughout the fall.
Better for You! – Gardening in springtime means a million things to do, but the fall (which tends to have many more nice days than spring does) is much more laid back. What could be more pleasant than puttering around in the garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September?
Fall Planting Tips
1. Amend the Soil – It’s always a good idea to amend your planting with organic material such as Colorado’s Choice B.O.S.S.
2. Use a Root Stimulator – During fall planting, you don’t want to use a regular fertilizer. This will only promote new top-growth that will just die off in the winter anyway. But you do want to focus on your plants’ roots. A root stimulator will help the plant prioduce new feeder roots that help in absorb more water and nutrients from the soil.
3. Mulch – Mulching around new plants has a lot of advantages. It helps retain moisture, keep weeds down and can help insulate fragile new roots against early frosts.
4. Winter Watering – Once the winter does arrive, a little bit of extra water will help your plants come through the cold months healthy and ready for spring. For more info, check out our Winter Watering Fact Sheet.