Crisp, cool weather, hoodies and sweaters, and the sense of shorter days are what come to mind when we think of fall. Luckily for gardeners and growers, it’s time for one final HooRah in the growing season before we put the beds to rest. There’s a misconception that spring is the only season for planting, but I’m here to tell you that fall is “the” season to start planting!

It all begins with the basics of botany: roots. Roots are a plant’s lifeline to water, nutrients, and ultimately growth. For trees and plants to receive optimal amounts of nourishment, their roots need to be securely established in its soil environment. This is extremely important especially when the trees are young. Why? Because new and young plantings have more of a chance to succumb to unpredictable weather conditions such as bitter cold, early frost, strong winds, extreme heat, and drought. Their strongest defense is to have a firmly established root system.
Weather conditions in fall, before frost and hard freezes arrive, are ideal for establishing new plants and trees. In the fall, there is less transplant shock caused when settling a plant or tree into its new environment. Seasonal rain and even snow help to provide water and settle into the soil around the toots. Even when the air gets cool, the soil retains the sun’s heat. The roots will still grow and settle in until the ground eventually freezes.
Another great reason to take advantage of fall planting is dormancy. What does this mean? And why is it so important? Perennials have their own winter hibernation, much like bears, when their systems take a hiatus for a restorative rest. That’s dormancy! When perennial plants and trees go dormant, their sap goes down, they harden off, they don’t take in as much nutrients, and their leaves may even drop. The plants will rest, and they rely on the cooler weather of fall in order to go dormant – and stay dormant.

Simply put: Fall is warm, but not too warm, and cool, but not too cool. This combination of weather provides us the perfect opportunity to get our plants and trees into the ground while the soil temperature is favorable. Take advantage of fall sales and PLANT! When the warm breezes and bird chirps announce the arrival of spring, you’ll have some very happy additions to your landscape.