Planting in the Fall

The experts have told me for years that planting isn’t just a spring activity. However, I have had very little success planting in the fall, versus the spring. I’ve have finally come to the conclusion of why fall doesn’t always work for me.

In the spring when the weather starts to warm, I get all gung-ho to primp and putter around my park-like setting. Especially if I have felt couped up over winter.

With extreme care, I baby the plants that are just coming up, or the ones I’ve just carefully selected from the fresh crop at the nursery. With that M.O., I’ve lost very few plants.

How is my spring approach different from the fall?

SIMPLE! The minute I hear the roar of the crowd, hut, hut, hut and NFL football kicks off … the last place I want to be is going from plant to plant watering, weeding and babying. Sorry.

Starting September 1 … fall weekends are full of worshipping at our local church, family fun, leaf cleanup & Sunday football. I’m not wishing to add yardwork. After all, I have spent the prior spring & summer months mowing, trimming, spreading 14 yards of mulch, edging a thousand feet of flower beds and yes … taking care of 6000 perennials & specimen trees on my property.


Enough about my hangups …

If you’re wondering what you can plant in the fall, the answer is almost anything. Turfgrass especially … it’s the best time to fix or put in that new lawn. And you can plant spring-blooming bulbs, cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees, and shrubs can all be effectively planted in the fall.


Fall has distinct planting benefits.

Autumn’s cooler air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. It’s often breezy, which, keeps the insects away. The soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes. In spring, plants don’t grow until the soil warms up. And if you plant too early in spring—you can lose your plant to a sudden frost.

Fall has more good days for planting than spring does—unless you’re a diehard NFL football fan like me who loses one of the two days of a weekend.


ONE HUGE ADVANTAGE, the late season (fall) is usually bargain time at garden centers that are trying to sell the last of their inventory before winter.

As far as watering, fall showers are sometimes plentiful, but it’s easy to deeply water plants if it doesn’t rain at least an inch per week.

Pests and disease problems routinely fade away in the fall. You don’t need as much fertilizer, either. Fertilizer promotes new, tender growth that can be nipped by winter weather, so I recommend you stop fertilizing by late summer.

The window for fall planting ends about six weeks before Connecticut gets hit with a hard frost … lately that’s September or October.

If you’re not a sports fan, good for you … get out there and get a head start for next year!

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