Roots are the most important feature of any plant. Whether you’re breaking up a root ball to transplant a seedling into soil in the spring months, or adding some trees and shrubs to your backyard landscaping in the fall, the roots all require nurturing care. This is why it makes sense to plant your perennials in the cooler fall months.
The fall season gives trees, shrubs and perennials the chance to develop stronger roots, especially because of the fall rains experienced in the Chesapeake region. Thanks to the summer heat, soil temperatures will remain warm well into the end of the year when hard frosts occur. Combining the warm soil with the autumn rain gives new trees and shrubs the chance to send roots out in new directions.
In addition, if you’re planting trees and shrubs to spruce up the look of your backyard, the fall and winter months give these plants plenty of time to establish roots. Come the spring season, more energy can be directed toward developing new branches and leaves. This means your plants will look fabulous next summer during all of your backyard gatherings.
To plant your trees and shrubs during the cooler season, the staff at Homestead Gardens recommends you dig a wide hole, but not necessarily too deep – just enough to fit the root ball. Make the hole two times as wide as the root ball. This will provide softened soil for roots to spread out, providing the plant with support and an ability to pull in additional water resources. Homestead Gardens recommends organic Bio-Tone Starter to increase root mass to help plants establish fast.
Fill in soil around the plant just to the top of the root ball where the roots flare out from the tree trunk. Be careful not to cover the root ball, and give the plant plenty of water. You may need to give the new tree support – ask the staff at Homestead Gardens about this when purchasing your plants, and they will provide the answer depending on the size and species of plant.