plantings for fall

Fall is for planting (bulbs, trees, shrubs and perennials)

By Glenwild Gardens

Spring is when people traditionally flock to garden centers hoping to fill their yards with color and texture for the summer season. With temps holding steady and still consistently above freezing, fall is also a great time to put new trees and shrubs in the ground. This is also a great time of year to get great deals on the shrubs and perennials you didn’t have the spring budget for.  This coincides with Glenwild’s annual shrub, tree and perennial sale… get your plantings for fall at a discount and get your garden spring-ready before snow arrives.  

Whether your new plantings went into the ground this spring, or whether you are considering grabbing a great deal and purchasing a new tree, shrub or perennial now, you can protect new additions to your home and garden with a few simple guidelines. 


Plant your spring bulbs before the ground freezes for gorgeous blooms in spring

Plant bulbs now

Springtime bulbs like tulips and daffodils should be put in the ground by early November. This is also when you should plant garlic (which is also a bulb). The general rule is to do this late in the season, but before the ground freezes over. Bulbs may even be planted after the first frost, as long as the soil is soft enough to be worked. 


Baby your spring plantings

New plantings from the spring, particularly those that aren’t super hardy, could also use some extra attention before winter arrives. Products like wilt-pruf, an antidessicant suitable for broadleaf evergreens like laurel or rhododendron, will keep moisture in the plants during the winter. Non-broadleaf plants that need extra attention can be wrapped in burlap in late November or early December. A burlap wrap can also protect new plants against winter deer browsing. 


Shrubs, trees and perennials: Plantings for fall

When planted in early spring, shrubs, trees and perennials have a chance to acclimate and establish in their new location before the arrival of summer’s extreme temperatures. Planting in the fall can actually be better, as long as your new plants also have a chance to acclimate before winter, because they will go dormant soon after and won’t have the stress of summer heat until months later. Once the ground is frozen, planting is possible, but no longer ideal. 

Water and mulch new plantings well now, and for added protection, consider wrapping them in burlap, or spraying with an anti-dessicant. By next season, they will be established and won’t need the same attention, but this will help ensure your fall investment is settled in and ready to thrive come spring.

Although established plantings may benefit from a small amount of slow-release granular fertilizer in the fall, do not fertilize any tree or shrub you may be planting now. This will encourage root growth, which can be damaged once the ground freezes or new leaf growth, which will not have hardened before freezing temps arrive. The plants have been through a lot of traveling, jostling and moving locations before arriving in your yard. Give them some time to become acclimated to their new location, soil and environment before winter arrives, but before they have a chance to put out new growth. 


Preparing for a live-root Christmas tree

Live, rooted Christmas trees, either in a pot or balled and burlapped can survive the transition from house to yard if you start planning now. If you are considering a live-root tree this holiday, choose your spot and dig your hole before the soil is too frozen in late December. The hole should be twice as wide and ideally twice as deep as the root ball. 

For the majority of live trees available to purchase at Glenwild, that means digging a hole approximately 2-3 feet wide. This allows you to mix some of the native soil around the soil in the root ball for a more peaceful transition. To accomplish this, be sure to leave a pile of dirt nearby, perhaps covered with burlap, or consider putting the displaced soil in a five-gallon bucket in a place where it won’t freeze solid come December. 


For more fall preparation guidelines and tips for getting the most out of your fall clean up, read our Fall Garden Preparation article, or visit us at the Garden Center. We’re always happy to offer advice and help you find the best products for your gardening needs. 

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By Glenwild Gardens