Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Summer in Central Texas is very hot and we have had several days above one hundred degrees. So goodbye to those 100 plus temperatures and hello to the cool mornings and wonderful mild afternoons. You know, the kind of days when you open every window and sometimes the doors, we call these days “Chamber of Commerce” days.
There are many plants that are at their best during the fall. They are ornamental grasses, Mexican Bush Sage and Mexican Mint Marigold. Most perennials bloom during late spring through the first freeze, but not grasses. They are at there best during the fall months. However, one of the best reason I love fall is that most garden centers are clearing out plants, trees and garden necessities so they can make room for Christmas. I know, it’s barely fall and already we see Christmas, but it is true. So the next concern most people have is…
“It’s going to be cold soon, so should I wait until spring to plant?” And the resounding answer is NO.
Fall is one of the best times to plant shrubs and trees. Now I would be careful about planting perennials because they will freeze back and may not have enough time to establish before the cold of winter, but shrubs and trees are in a whole different category. The main reason I think fall is perfect for planting is because the roots of the shrubs and trees continue to establish over the winter months. And by “establish”, I mean, their roots continue to grow. So if you plant in October or November, you have between six and seven months before it gets hot. Just think, for that length of time your landscape has several months to grow their root system. There will be little to no action above ground, but below ground is where your plant is working on growing it’s roots. So if a plant needs about a year to establish, than half that time is during the coolest and wettest part of the year. That means a lot less work for you. But the best part is when spring does come your plant is ready to impress you with all it new growth.
Another good reason for fall planting is much less stress on plants. It’s sometimes hard to believe that plants get stressed, but they do. When you disrupt the roots, removing them from their containers, it causes the plant to stop growing and put all it’s energy into the protection of it’s root system. Without a healthy root system there will be no healthy plant. So while the weather is cool there is less stress on plants. In the late fall and winter the plants will become dormant and will continue to establish without the added stress of putting out new growth. Whereas in the spring they may have four to six weeks and then they must start to put new growth out. So next time you are shopping and fall is here, look for big sales on plants and don’t hesitate to do some landscaping in your yard. Come spring you will be way ahead of the curve with plants healthy and thriving. And the best part, you will have spent a lot less money!