Some time ago, the garden industry started a campaign to promote fall planting. While it was a clever trick to stimulate plant shopping when garden centers were normally quiet, fall planting is actually a bright idea for gardeners too.
Financially, you can save money by carefully choosing closeouts as many retailers try to clear their inventory. Horticulturally, plants have fewer pests and diseases to deal with in fall. In addition, cooler temperatures and moist soil benefit plants as they’re getting established. Even after top growth stops, roots continue to grow until the ground freezes. In spring, these established roots will have a head start because they will have built up the strength to withstand the coming heat of summer. As the expression goes, happy roots mean happy plants.
Root growth isn’t a plant’s only priority in spring, says Tyler Johnson, curator of collections and grounds for the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens, and these various needs can create some strain on plants. “If you think spring, plants are leafing out, potentially flowering—depending on the species—and have much more tender new growth,” he says.
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