The nights are getting longer and the days are growing shorter and everyone is thinking the end is here. The end of the gardening and landscaping season that is. Actually, early fall is the ideal time to start your gardening. Great discounts can be found at the stores, best time to plant and transplant, and to start installing your flower beds.

ShrubsEarly to mid-fall is the best time to transplant, trees, shrubs and perennials. Typically planting or transplanting in the spring does not allow much time to overcome transplant shock or developing it’s essential root system prior to the stresses of summer. In fact, when transplanting you want the plants in the ground no later than mid-autumn.

Evergreens, hollies, or other needle-leaved shrubs or trees do not enter a dormancy phase like broad-leaved shrub and trees do. They continue to transpire actively through their needle leaves requiring a fully functioning root system. Wait for the leaves to drop on broad-leaved shrubs or trees before transplanting because this shows it is entering dormancy which allows for the plant to concentrate on the growth of new roots.

Damaged roots from transplanting have the entire fall to re-establish new root hairs and fibers which is crucial for transporting water and nutrients to the plant. By transplanting in the fall it also allows for the plant to mature through several seasons instead of a month or two before the scorching heat of summer. Be sure to water thoroughly after planting or transplanting and continue during dry conditions.


Fall is also a perfect time to start new flower beds. Instead of digging up the sod, put down several layers of newspaper or cardboard and cover with at least 6 inches of mulch. This will let the microorganisms and worms to do their job breaking down the newspaper, grass and its roots without you breaking your back. Then you can plant it in early spring without breaking a sweat.

AerationWhen it comes to your lawn this is the time to feed your grass roots. Core aerate your lawn to allow fresh air and nutrients to reach its roots. Thinking about going organic? This is the perfect time to make your switch. Apply your corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent and apply your slow releasing organic fertilizer. Synthetic fertilizers break down faster than organic because it is water soluble which means it does not feed the roots as long as organic fertilizers will. Turf health truly depend on soil health. You need a good top soil with active microorganisms to break down organics and thatch which will in turn create better growing conditions for your lawn. If you are too cheap to fertilize your lawn (like me) you can mulch up your leaves with your mower to add organics and nutrients to your lawn. I do not recommend this if you own furry friends because you’ll spend your fall running the sweeper picking up what they tracked in. Before fertilizing perform a soils test to ensure you even need to apply any otherwise you are just throwing your money away.

So don’t put away those gardening tool quite yet. If you are thinking about installing new flower beds, this is the right time. You are thinking about transplanting that tree to the back yard, then this is the right time. Hold on to those tools for another month and then enjoy a cup of hot chocolate knowing you are ready for this spring.

Brian Prunty

Prunty's CornerFor more articles by Brian visit:
Kim's Korner