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Tip of the Week: Fall Planting

Why plant in fall, plus 3 tips for keeping new plants healthy

Why fall is a good time for planting:

o In many places the weather is kinder to plants than it is in spring. There is less threat of a hot spell, and the intense heat of summer is history.

o There’s still a good chance of mild weather ahead, when plants can send out new roots to establish themselves in the soil.

o Daytime temperatures are cooler but nights are still mild.

o There’s less threat of drought in many places.

o Pest and disease problems abate in autumn. This year’s generation of bugs prepares for winter dormancy. Lower humidity means less disease.

o Many nurseries put perennials, trees and shrubs on sale in fall.

Tips for planting in fall:

1. Plant early enough. Leave enough time for plants to settle in before the ground begins to freeze. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for trees, shrubs and roses. Allow 4 to6 weeks for perennials and ornamental grasses.

2. Water regularly as new plants establish themselves. Keep watering until the ground freezes. Pay special attention to evergreens, which are at greatest risk for winter injury if they go into dormancy dry.

3. Apply mulch once the ground freezes. This will keep the ground frozen during warm spells. Cycles of freezing, thawing and refreezing buckle the ground and heave roots out of the soil.

Read past weeks’ tips

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