Fall is the perfect time for you to plant trees and shrubs
the air temperature rises in the late winter and plants begin to leaf
out, the ground temperature is still cold, so there is slow root
development. As summer approaches, the “top growth” slows but root
development continues in the warm soil as the plant’s roots seek out
moisture and nutrients. This root development continues until the summer
heat raises the soil temperature and stalls the root growth. Once
heated, the soil is slow to cool, so as the air temperature drops in the
fall, the soil remains warm, but not hot, so the root growth resumes
and continues well after the leaves have fallen.
In areas of the country where soils freeze and remain frozen through most of the winter, root development comes to a virtual stop. For us in the mid-South, the ground freezes and thaws throughout the winter, so new roots are developing most of that time.
As your fall plantings begin to
develop new feeder roots, they may not be well enough established to
fend for themselves, so you should still closely monitor their water
needs; however, they will be much easier to care for than if planted in
the spring. In most cases, mature plants have a root system that is
three times the size of the plant canopy above the ground. An azalea
that has a 3 cubic feet canopy will have a 9 cubic foot root system when
established. Always treat newly planted plants differently than those
that are established in your landscape.
When planting trees and shrubs, scrape off the layer top of soil and put it off to the side. Dig the hole at least 2 to 3 times the width of, and as deep as the root ball. Your soil mix should be approximately 1/3 of the saved top soil, 1/3 existing natural clay soil, and the balance, an organic matter such as Cotton Burr Compost, Back to Nature Blend, or other organic soil conditioner. Adding organic material feeds the natural fungi and microbes that live in the soil. This life is important in keeping plants healthy, so when you feed your plants, use fertilizers that feed the soil as well. We carry a wide variety of fertilizers that will feed both your plants and keeps your soil thriving.
Planting in rich, loose, well draining soil will help ensure healthy thriving plants. We also highly recommend planting slightly above the existing soil line. This allows excessive moisture to wick away and protect the root system from being compromised from over watering.
If you are thinking
about moving trees or shrubs – or planting new – fall is the best time.
Transplanting, especially with our summer heat, is best saved for cooler
Moving an established tree or shrub can cause significant root damage. Waiting until cooler fall weather will dramatically reduce transplant shock and help your plants to re-establish. Follow the same protocol on planting new trees and shrubs. Use organic soil conditioners and compost to create a good, loose, well drained soil, feed with organic foods to promote healthy plant growth and soil, and use a root stimulator to promote good healthy root growth