by Kelly Dowell
Do you suffer from spring landscape envy? Does it seem like every time the weather starts warming up from winter, your neighbors have bursts of colorful blooms in their garden and you don’t? Fall plantings must take place months prior to spring so that you can reap the rewards after the chilly months.
Fall is the ideal season for planting trees because it encourages root growth through the winter to establish a firm underground foundation before the heat of the summer returns.
The fall season naturally brings more rainfall and cooler temperatures, so your new tree will require less watering.
However, there is a time when it becomes too late to plant trees. Trees should be planted approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the first hard frost so the roots can actually penetrate the soil before the ground becomes too frozen. For instance in St. Louis the perfect time for fall plantings is between September and November. A good resource for trees is the Arbor Day Foundation.
Another benefit of planting trees in the fall is realized with spring blooming specimens. Trees such as Redbuds, flowering Cherries, and Dogwoods show their greatest features in the early spring months and if you plant in the spring, you run the chance of missing their display.
Nurseries are prepared for a lot of fall demand and will have many trees in stock to choose from in the fall. Some popular varieties that are recommended for fall planting include Spruce, Pine, Maple, Hawthorn, Crabapple, and Honey Locust.
Proper tree installation is essential. Balled and burlaped trees tend to be extremely heavy and need to be transplanted with good technique. Call your local nursery or landscaper for a quote on planting trees this fall.
2. Spring blooming shrubs
Many people often request a flowering shrub or perennial in their landscape that they’ve seen in their neighbor’s landscape. But, by the time you decide on a location, specimen, and color, there is a good chance that the blooming period of that plant has expired!
Planning in the fall is essential when it comes to planting spring bloomers such as Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Ninebark, Weigela and Forsythia. Plan now to get full enjoyment from your spring bloomers.
Fall is the ONLY time to plant spring-blooming bulbs.
There are several popular varieties that are successful in our area here in St. Louis including:
It is fun to plant several different varieties because they all come with different bloom times and you will enjoy your hard work all spring long! A good rule of thumb is to plant a few extra in case some do not come up.
Over time, grass plants reach their peak and need to be replaced. Different factors contribute to the breakdown of the grass including foot traffic, heat, lack of water/nutrition, environmental conditions, pet waste, etc.
The best time to over-seed is in the fall. Mother Nature provides us with more precipitation and cooler weather, diseases are less active, and the soil is still warm.
Spring does not produce satisfactory results. Spring is the time to apply pre-emergents and your desirable grass seeds typically lose the battle against pre-emergents. Additionally, aerating is an important factor prior to over-seeding and the aeration plugs will break the barrier provided by the crabgrass pre-emergent.
Overall, the young seedlings often do not have enough time to reach maturity before the heat of the summer hits.
If you plant your grass seed in early fall, you will still have time to enjoy your lush turf during the fall! Grass seed will begin to germinate within 7-10 days!
Contact your local landscaper today if you need ideas, suggestions, or a quote for your fall plantings that produce a beautiful spring landscape! Good resources to find one include www.loveryourlandscape.com and www.independentwestand.org
Kelly Dowell is the Business Developer at Dowco Enterprises Inc. Dowco is a premier provider of lawn and landscape maintenance in the Chesterfield, MO area.