The kids are back in school and the long dog days of summer have ended – you might think the gardening season has also come to a close. You’ll be surprised to discover that things aren’t slowing down here at Alsip Home & Nursery. Just as the summer season begins to change into crisper weather, we continue to offer a wide selection of fresh trees, shrubs, perennials, and other landscaping favorites as the planting season begins to rev back up.
With cooler weather approaching, now is a prime opportunity to evaluate your garden. You may discover spots that need filling, replaced or improved. Perhaps there are even some areas you weren’t ready to tackle in the hot days of summer, well here’s your chance.
Planting your landscape in fall (mid-August through mid-October) can offer many advantages. The goal when establishing new plants is to achieve good root growth. As the plants slow down into dormancy they start putting more energy toward root growth as opposed to top growth. They’re also not drinking as much and have less risk of stress as opposed to the hot, dry weather.
7 Reasons to Plant in the Fall
- Get a Jump Start on Spring Growth
Nutrients are readily absorbed in the fall that will ensure plant material has what it needs to thrive in the spring. Once the ground thaws, root systems will start to grow – far before we can start working the soil or put new plants in. Ground temperatures take a long time to warm in the spring, thus the root growth and establishments takes longer in the spring than the fall. This head start means first of the season perennials and shrubs can actually show off their flowers!
- The Cooler Weather
Do you prefer sweater weather over sweaty weather? We get it. Try gardening in the fall! While it’s an ideal time for plants to have a lengthy period to establish roots before the heat of next summer returns, this is also an advantageous time for gardeners. Spring often leaves us busy with fertilizing and clean-up on top of everyday life tasks – so fall is certainly the opportune time of year to be outside and enjoying the garden – while not breaking (as much of) a sweat! Cooler air temperatures mean less stress on plants, and more energy for root establishment. Plus the crisp air makes for an enjoyable experience while working in your landscape.
- Less Water Saves You Money!
Natural moisture becomes more readily available in fall for plants, allowing for easier establishment in the landscape and less supplemental watering for the homeowner. This happens from a combination of cooler temperatures and shorter days. With less evaporation and the slowing of photosynthesis, your new plants require far less water than if planted in the long days of warmer spring and summer months.
- Less Stress on Your Plants
Fall planting and establishment in the landscape allows plant material to grow with far less stress the following spring. Between cooler temperatures and more naturally available water from fall rain, your plants will endure less heat damage or drought conditions.
- Stronger Root Development
Ground temperatures cool much more slowly than air temperatures in the fall, allowing for a long season of root establishment. Root systems will continue to grow and develop as long as the soil temperature remains above 40°F.
- Crucial Support for Pollinators
The sooner the blooms, the sooner nectar sources are available for pollinators. Birds, bees, and butterflies will thank you for making food available early and late into the the gardening season. As humans, we rely heavily on pollinators to support our food supply, do your part to help them put food on our tables! By feeding them, they help feed us.
- Camouflage Early Spring Blooming Bulb Foliage
If you did double-duty by planting your spring blooming bulbs in the fall by placing them beneath your fall planted perennials and shrubs – then you’ll have both fall and spring color to enjoy! Even better, by combining your fall planting with spring blooming bulbs, the dying bulb foliage will be engulfed by next spring’s perennials or shrubs. This will allow them to die back naturally, providing strength for next year’s bloom. While fall bulbs bloom, perennials have gone dormant. At the end of the bulbs bloom life, the perennials will start to grow, subsequently covering the bulb tops. You’ll also have saved time by digging a hole once and getting two whole seasons of color!
Extra Tips for Successful Fall Planting
Providing nutrients is extremely important when planting. We recommend adding Purple Cow Activated Compost to the soil mix when preparing your planting. By doing so, you’re giving your newly established roots plenty to absorb over winter so they’re prepared for a strong spring.
However, if you’re done getting your hands dirty, but still feel like something missing from your landscape – Let Us Plant! Alsip Home & Nursery offers full service planting, complete with amendments, planting soil, and root stimulator. Our experts dig and place even the most established ball and burlap trees we have available. Simply ask our nursery staff about our planting services on your next visit.
So even though summer is setting, fall is on the horizon with plenty of planting opportunities to create your dream landscape!