By Michelle Portesi
Did you know that a plant lays down 60% of its root system in the fall? It’s true! Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees just before they go dormant. While you will have a better selection of plants to choose from in the spring, planting in the fall offers deep discounts as nurseries try to sell off inventory before winter.
When you plant in the spring, disrupting a tree or shrub just as it’s starting its growth spurt for the season can put a damper on that. When you plant in the fall, shrubs and trees have done all of their visible growth for the year. With the proper planting techniques, your new purchase will not only have the best chance for surviving the winter, but will have the best of opportunities for a spectacular bloom and growth spurt in the spring.
Dig the whole twice as large as the pot of your plant. Our native soil has little in nutrients and has poor drainage qualities, so amending the soil when planting is key. Mix it 50/50, meaning 50% of the soil you just dug out and 50% of a soil amendment when planting. Be sure to check the plant’s tag for its soil needs first. Some plants are more acid loving than others, or prefer more humus or sandy soil, so getting a soil mix it is happy with will ensure a healthier plant. Follow the planting instructions on the tag or even better, look your new purchase up on the Internet to ensure you are hitting all of its needs. (Full sun, part shade, water lover, drought tolerant? Some prefer to be slightly elevated above the ground, some do better with some welling. All of these criteria make a difference.)
After planting, yes, you still must water regularly through the fall until the leaves drop while the days are still warm. Just before the snow sticks permanently, sprinkle some time released fertilizer at the base. When the winter snows melts next spring, it will hit that fertilizer just as it’s starting its growth spurt. You should be well rewarded next year with a plant that you have given the best possible opportunity for spectacular spring bloom and/or healthy growth for the season.
Full disclosure here. I do work part of the year at Rock and Rose Nursery, (10739 Glenshire Drive) so here is what’s on sale now:
35% Off Perennials
20% Off Aspens (we had a new shipment this week!) and decorative pots
30% Off All Other Trees and Shrubs
50% Off Select Ball and Burlap Service Berries.
We also have Fall mums, flowering kale, bulbs and wildflower seeds.
You can look forward to a post on High Sierra Gardens in Incline Village next spring.
And don’t forget, fall is also the best time for planting bulbs or spreading wildflower seeds for next spring’s blooms!
THINK OF LYNN RICHARDSON FOR ALL OF YOUR LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE NEEDS!