Sunday, September 19, 2021
Sept. 19, 2021

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Gardening With Allen: Fall ideal time for landscaping


I have a new home with no landscaping. Should I start landscaping now or wait until spring?

Fall is an excellent time to plant. Even though big box stores often close their plant departments, full service nurseries continue to offer trees, shrubs and other landscape supplies in the fall. Landscape contractors continue to operate in the fall. So if you want to hire someone to landscape for you, they will be available. When the fall rain begins you won’t even have to irrigate your new landscape.

Trees are the first thing I would plant if I had a new home to landscape. Trees and shrubs actually get a better start when planted in the fall. Air temperatures are cooling but the soil is still warm so roots establish quickly. Leaf growth has stopped so there is less stress for roots to supply moisture for new leaf growth. Even deciduous trees and shrubs have continued root growth in the fall.

Fall is the very best time to plant a lawn. The cool air temperature and warm soil temperature are ideal for lawn establishment. You can save a lot by planting a new lawn from seed when conditions are ideal. Although fall rain will help, it is still important to keep the top of the soil wet for three weeks until seed has sprouted.

Make improvements

If you have an established landscape, fall is an excellent time to make improvements. Is it time to remove some of those overgrown shrubs and replace them with shrubs that will not outgrow the space where they are planted? Have large trees created so much shade that the lawn is getting thin? Now might be a good time to replace that thin lawn with a ground cover that doesn’t even need to be mowed. Maybe now is a good time to expand your patio with some pavers you can lay yourself. Or would a deck be a better choice?

Add color

How about adding some color to your landscape with some fall blooming mums or asters? Budded and blooming plants are available for planting now. Now is the best time to plant pansies and flowering kale and cabbage for fall, winter and early spring color. Plant while weather is warm enough for plants to become well established.

Have you envied those colorful daffodils and tulips in the park or your neighbor’s yard? You have a couple of months to plant the bulbs that will produce those beautiful colors. You don’t have a place to plant them? Nonsense. Shrubs make an excellent background for bulbs. Just take out a little patch of lawn where some extra color would look nice. Or plant them between your existing annual flowers. Or plant them with existing ground covers. Just make holes about 4 to 5 inches apart and drop in a bulb.

Plant veggies

Right now is a great time to plant leaf lettuce, spinach, green onions, kale and Swiss chard for fall and winter use. Fall is the right time to plant garlic for spring and summer harvest.