While we most often think of spring as the ideal planting season, if you want to enjoy greater vibrancy in your landcape all year round, fall is actually the best time to plant perennials, spring blooming bulbs, trees and shrubs as well as to improve the health of your lawn. With a little bit of effort and planning during this fall's cooler temperatures, you'll be rewarded with beautiful blooms and pleasing aromas next spring.
How can this be? The best root growth is achieved while air temperatures are beginning to cool but ground temperatures still remain relatively warm. Planting trees, shrubs and perennials in the fall provides a period for their roots to become established without the overbearing heat of spring and summer. Less heat also equals less stress for plants, so you’ll have to spend less time worrying about the amount of water these plants need next spring.
Of course, it's perfectly acceptable to plant other times of the year with proper irrigation, but fall is the optimal time if you want to remove water worries from your list.
“Quite simply, fall is an excellent time for planting that lengthens the vibrancy of your yard all year long.”
So what should you consider planting now for spring color?
For trees and shrubs, take into account options such as Osmanthus fragrans (tea olive), Camellia sasanqua, Pyracantha with its bright red berries, red maples, cherry trees, fringe trees and magnolias.
For perennials, don’t forget about fall-blooming options such as Chrysanthemum, Anemone and Joe Pye Weed. Spring-blooming perennials that put on a show include Hellebore, Iris, Columbine and Bleeding Heart.
When it comes to your lawn, it's best to wrap up fescue overseeding and aeration by early November in preparation for the cooler weather to come. November is also the best month to plant bulbs in North Carolina, so consider adding Crocus, Hyacinth, Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinths, Tulips or Daffodils to your landscape beds then for optimal spring color.
For fall color now, consider adding pansies, ornamental kale and cabbage, violas and snapdragons. Most of these plants will provide an elegant burst of color to your landscape through May. Take the time to plan, plant and make a difference for next spring now. You’ll be glad you did!