Busting the Myths!
Why Autumn is a great season for planting.
Myths about planting in the fall:
- “All the leaves are falling off so I won’t know if the tree is still alive.”
- “If the tree is going dormant, I should wait and plant in the spring.”
- “I’d rather see the shape of the tree with all the leaves before I plant it.”
- “It’s too cold to plant.”
- “My system is turned off for the winter, but I guess water from snow is enough.”
These are a few myths we want to bust about planting trees and shrubs this time of year. They aren’t true! Fall is one of the BEST times of year to get those beauties in the ground. We are going to share the nitty gritty of why with you right here, right now.
Myth #1 – I don’t know if the tree is alive.
The leaves, yes, will be falling off deciduous trees and shrubs over the next month or two. But your plant is still alive. In fact, Trees and Shrubs do 80% of their rooting in the fall! 80%!!! All that energy that had been going into keeping those leaves green and strong is now being directed into the root systems.
Planting new items in the fall, with proper watering techniques, ensures that you are giving the best possible focus on establishing those new plants faster. And because the plants are focused on rooting they will have stronger and deeper roots. Come spring, the leaves will be back – better, stronger and faster for having given the roots some focused time to proliferate.
Myth #2 – If the tree is going dormant, I should wait and plant in the spring.
While you can plant any time of year, and spring is a great time to do so, we highly recommend planting in the fall. New plants focus their energy into the root system rather than the leaves. This means they will establish themselves more quickly in the fall. The main difference between fall planting and spring planting is the price. In the fall you have an amazing selection to choose from, but it’s all on sale.
Glover Nursery brings in truckloads of fresh product specifically for fall and we immediately put it on sale. Why do we do this? Well, we love our customers. We love having a huge selection year-round for our beloved customers. And, we LOVE helping give these beautiful plants the best possible start to their new life in your yard (and as we mentioned they do 80% of their rooting in the fall, so…..it’s a win-win-win, major, jumbo, love-fest for us all).
Myth #3 – I won’t know the shape of the leaves.
The shape of the tree with or without the leaves on it is going to change, drastically so, over the next few years. No matter what size tree you buy now, the canopy will develop, branch out and expand. The full-grown shape for a tree will always be the direction the tree grows, but the tree you buy today will not be the same in a year – it will literally branch out.
We find that choosing the tree without leaves better allows you to select a tree with strong structure and balanced branching. This bare bones beauty will only be enhanced when the leaves come on in spring. And, the faster it establishes a strong, healthy root system, the faster it will grow those leaves. (we are noticing a theme here now, aren’t we? Spring=flowers, Fall=rooting powers)
Myth #4 – It’s too cold to plant.
Is it though? Unless the ground is frozen and you can’t dig a hole, you can still plant a tree or shrub. If you are able to dig up the soil, those roots will be able to grow into the soil. And, maybe this is TMI, but I sure do prefer all that sweaty work when the temps are lower. Actually, I have my brothers do it for me because they are the best….but, even still, cooler weather makes them happier to help.
There really isn’t a reason to let the cooler weather stop you from planting. Unless, that is, you just do not like being outside if it dips below 60 degrees. In which case, we raise our cup of hot cocoa to you. We will be here in the summer when you are ready to be outdoors again.
Myth #5 – You don’t need to water in winter.
Winter watering is a concern. Many people think that snow melt is enough to water trees and shrubs, but it really isn’t. That soft, fluffy snow melts down into very little water and does not reach those roots.
It’s important to remember that the ground does not stay frozen all the time, it thaws and refreezes throughout the season. When it thaws, those little roots are active and searching for a water source. Even trees you planted in spring will still need winter watering. The snow melt won’t do the trick.
Turning your sprinklers on in winter isn’t necessary, in fact it is detrimental. However, getting some deep soaking into those roots at least once a month is imperative. If you don’t want to hook up your hose in winter, there is a great trick that Rod Glover recommends: dump a few tumblerfuls of ice around the root zone – this way, when it does thaw enough to melt, the ice will water the tree at the exact right time. And, most folks have ice makers that keep those glossy cubes coming all day, so it takes barely any time or effort.
SO, there you have it. Myth-busting complete. Combine this with Ryan’s video on water saving techniques, pop in some gorgeous fall blooming perennials, and you have the powerful formula for true fall gardening success.
And, as always, we are here to help with any questions you may have.
See you soon!