Fall is a little bit like a reverse spring. Everything is starting to wind down as winter approaches, and for a lot of gardeners, that’s a sad time. It doesn’t have to be, though; fall can be a time for laying the groundwork for spring plants and creating dazzling garden displays.
Fall planting can be tricky, largely because the plants that prefer to be planted in the fall can vary widely depending on where you live. However, if you live where it gets cold enough to frost or freeze, you can bet on many of these being excellent candidates:
Timing is everything when you’re planting in the fall. It’s not enough to ensure that the ground is unfrozen and workable; you should also give your young plants time to grow and spread their roots before they go dormant for the year. You can look up your first frost date on a reliable gardening site like The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Count back six to eight weeks and plan to plant your garden at that time.
Planting too close to a frost can cause significant damage to your new plants, or even result in their deaths from too much stress. After all, moving into a new neighborhood can be tricky, even for a plant, and they need time to repair roots that have been injured during the process. A few extra weeks to start going into dormancy will help them come back strong in the spring.
For the most part, fall plantings won’t need a great deal of protection as long as they’re planted in a timely manner. What they will need is mulch, and lots of it. It doesn’t really matter what kind of mulch you use, so long as it’s biodegradable and can be piled on deep.
If your area sees snow and freezing temperatures, go for about four inches of mulch per planting, evenly distributed across the top. Wait to cover the crowns until you’re actually at risk for frost, but the root area of the plant can be covered the day you plant it. These kinds of mulches help the plant retain moisture and acts as insulation to keep the warmth from the sun in the ground longer.
As your plants die back for the year, mulch the entire area, making sure to carefully check tender plants for new growth as temperatures rise in the spring. When you see those little green sprouts popping up, uncover them (but leave the rest of the mulch) so they can continue on their upward journey.
It’s ok, your HomeKeepr community can help you find a landscaper or other plant expert to help you choose and install your fall landscaping. Log in today to get on your way to a lush and glorious garden!