Now that we’re into September it’s that time of the year where many of us are watching the leaves turn yellow, red, and purple on our trees and shrubs. We’re one big wind away from raking them up into piles(or mowing over them mulching them up into little, tiny pieces- my cheater way of cleaning up my enormous yard). So the question is: Can I still plant trees, shrubs, and perennials?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Fall planting is one of the BEST times to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. In the fall, we have cooler day temperatures and much cooler night temperatures which stresses out our newly planted babies way less than summer planting.
When can’t you plant trees, shrubs, and perennials anymore? When you can’t dig into the ground. You can plant trees, shrubs, and perennials until the ground is too frozen to dig.
The key really is what to do after you’ve planted.
Water them in well. And right before the ground is super frozen, give them another good soak.
Hold off on fertilizing. Really. We want our trees, shrubs, and perennials to slow down. They need to be ready for dormancy and by fertilizing them, we’re giving them a boost and telling them to grow. You want them to sleep, not grow. Instead, wait until early spring and then sprinkle bone meal around your new tree.
Build a really awesome tree well around your tree. Basically a tree well is a giant circle around your tree that’s free of weeds or grass. Tree wells are soooo awesome because they are giving a space around the tree to not compete with grass, weeds, or anything else for water. You can mulch around your tree the second year (in the spring) if you plant in the fall.
Protect the trunk. If you’ve just planted an apple tree or anything that might be tasty to deer over the winter, protect your tree trunk with a tree guard (it can be as simple as a piece of weeping tile tubing). Trees can often recover from their branches being munched on, but it is very difficult for them to recover from damage on their trunks.
Hold off on pruning. Most trees, and shrubs enjoy a dormant season pruning (not all, but a lot). Hold off on pruning anything until your tree is fully dormant. Watch for our pruning blog post coming up February 2017.
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