Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on October 2, 2013 by jo

Can Ya Dig It?

Can ya dig it?  Why, yes, we a few weeks.  Plants are going into dormancy and it won't be very long before we can get into the field and start digging them up.  Fall is a safe season to transplant almost any plant, so if that Burning Bush that you planted too close to the house needs to be moved, get out your shovel and get to work as soon as it drops those pretty red leaves.  Make sure there is plenty of moisture in the ground before you start - run the hose slowly on it for a while ahead of time (like a day or 2 ahead, you don't want to dig in the mud).   That will help make it a lot easier to dig and also helps the plant.  I found a video to help you understand some basic techniques for digging a shrub, click here to check it out.  Ignore the fact that this guy is moving this lilac shrub in full leaf....only do this if you are desperate and absolutely have to move something because it's in the way for construction of your awesome new patio or something.   

So this next month is a GREAT time to transplant and plant shrubs, trees and perennials.  Most people don't think about planting in the fall and wait until spring when the garden centers get all of their beautiful new plants and they are in the mood to do it.  Well, I'm here to tell you to get into the mood NOW 'cause Fall is for Planting! And why exactly is fall such a good time to plant?  Isn't it getting too cold, won't the plants die because they haven't had time to grow yet?  Nope.  The plants will actually be way ahead of the game if you set them out in the fall.  Soil temperatures cool off much slower than the air temps, and the warm soil promotes root growth.  So the plants are actually growing, you just can't see them.  The roots continue to grow until the ground freezes and then begin again as soon as the soil starts to warm up in the spring.  When summer arrives, the fall-planted plant can deal with heat and drought much better due to its more established root system.  This is especially important when planting trees that are planted away from a water source or that may get limited care in the summer. (maybe it is your summer home and you are only ther part of the summer?)

What else can you transplant or plant in the fall?  Most perennials can be divided and moved in the fall and everyone knows that you put your spring bulbs in the ground in the fall to enjoy beautiful spring color.  I will be talking 'bout bulbs in a future Twig Tips this fall to help motivate you to get some in the ground, you can thank me next spring when you are enjoying those tulips. 

Why else should you plant trees and shrubs in the fall?  Because fall has more rain than late spring, which keeps watering more consistent.  Because it's much cooler, not much chance of a 90 degree day.  Because fewer disease and pest problems are hanging around to plague a plant that is already weakened from transplanting.  And THE most important reason.....because I said so! (that's what I tell my kids, anyway)

Off to plant a new tree to hug - Jodie

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