A lot of people assume that spring is the only time to plant seeds, trees, and shrubs. In fact, fall is the best time to plant hardy annuals and most perennials do better when they are planted in the fall.
Cool Weather Means Strong Roots
During the spring, even though the air is warm, the ground stays cold for a long time, inhibiting root growth. Spring planting can make for fast leaf growth and flowering before the root system is developed well enough to sustain it.
Many hardy plants that are planted in the spring are scrawny or look stressed during their first season. When planted in the fall, hardy plants continue to develop their root system long after their above ground parts have gone dormant. When spring arrives, there`s a well-developed and robust root system to support the growth of foliage and flowers.
Perennials that are planted in the spring can take 2 or 3 seasons to reach their full size while perennials planted in the fall usually reach full size in their first year.
Grow Plants from Seeds
Many hardy plants grow very well from seeds sown in the fall and some seeds require exposure to freezing temperatures in order to grow. Seeds that grow well when planted in the fall include pansies, snap dragons, and sweet peas. As the snow melts, the seeds will germinate and fill your beds with early season blossoms.
Lawns Grow Best in Cool Weather
Lawns also grow better when they are planted in the fall. There`s less evaporation, more rainfall, and slower plant growth so roots have a better chance to get established. A lawn planted in the fall is better able to survive and thrive during the hot, dry days of next summer. Just be sure to plant a new lawn several weeks before the first killing frost of the year. In Calgary that could happen in early October.
So, just because summer is over, don’t put the gardening gloves away just yet. Now is the best time to plant many trees, shrubs, and seeds.
Well, summer’s almost over – the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting crisp.
Even though the days are sunny and warm now, before we know it, we’ll be enjoying another Alberta winter. Now is a great time to start getting your landscaping ready for its long winter slumber and to prepare for a burst of spring colour. Fall is an excellent season for gardening, and here are a few things that you can do right now to get your landscaping ready for next year.
Plant Trees and Shrubs
Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. The root systems grow well in the warm soil but foliage growth slows down at this time of year. If you plant now, root systems will be well established before next summer’s heat. Just be sure to keep new trees and shrubs well watered to prevent them from getting dehydrated by cool, dry winter winds.
Plant Bulbs for a Burst of Spring Colour
Fall is the season for planting new bulbs. They’ll lie dormant over the winter and once the ground starts to warm up in the spring you’ll be treated to an early season burst of colour in your garden. Conversely, fall is the time to dig up summer flowering bulbs that can’t survive outside over winter and bring them indoors.
Don’t Toss Your Leaves
If you have trees that drop leaves in the fall you have a ready and free supply of mulch for your beds. Rake up your leaves and run over them with your lawnmower. If you have a leaf vacuum that grinds them up that’s even better. When leaf mulch is raked onto flower beds, it breaks down quickly and provides much needed nutrients. The extra layer of protection also makes it easier for plants to survive winter as well.
Overseed Your Lawn
Your lawn takes a beating during the hot, dry days of summer, especially if it’s seeded with cool season grass. Fall is an ideal time to overseed your lawn so it will come back thicker and healthier next year. Overseeding is also a great way to gradually replace your existing lawn with hardier grasses.
Fall is an ideal season for gardening and landscaping. The work you do right now will help your lawn and gardens to come back brighter and healthier next year.