Nurseries are really busy in the spring, but we shouldn't be. We should be REALLY BUSY in the fall because it really is the very best season to plant and do lawn work. Our industry has tried to get this point across but it hasn't worked very well. In the spring, people want to go outside and do work after being cooped up all winter, and the sun and warmth feels good on your HUMAN face.
The problem with this thinking, however, is that these reasons are human-based, not plant-based. I'm guessing over 60% of root growth occurs in the fall, 15% occurs in the winter, and the rest in the summer.
In the fall, the soil is usually moist and warm as the air cools. Water moves through the plant at a slower pace, and everything seems to have better balance. Conversely, in the summer, the soil easily gets bone dry and hot, and keeping up with the water needs of the plant is more difficult. If it doesn't rain, then it's all up to people to provide that water which doesn't always happen properly.
Many people respond to this "but I wanted to wait until winter is over because I didn't want winter to kill my plants," and my response to that is that most plants that die in the winter were weak going into the winter, and winter just finished them off.
Sorry for the crude handmade sketch, but it's the only way I know how to get my point across. In the sketch, you can see that if you plant in the fall, there's 9 months of root growth that can happen before the misery of the heat and drought return in the summer. Plants that have been planted in the fall/early winter are more self-sufficient than stuff planted in the spring that needs human assistance with watering.
These two birch trees, recently planted, are growing underground like crazy long after the tops have gone dormant and the leaves have started dropping. You can easily see the white roots. This root growth continues all winter long despite the fact that people think trees are dormant. Trees are only dormant in the human-observation sense, but in the plant world, there's no such thing as dormancy because there's always some physiological thing going on inside the plant.
In this picture, you can see a flamethrower redbud we potted three weeks ago to keep it from blowing over in the wind. In that short time you can see that the roots grew about 12' on each side of the original pot the trees came in, and that the resulting root system is happy and well-knit. Fall planting is a superior concept that I hope more people will take kindly to and have the same results that we have come to love from our efforts.
The following video shows blue agastache I fell in love with last summer 2021. I took home a one gallon plant and plopped it in by the driveway at the end of November. It started flowering in early summer, and is still flowering now four months later. I did not drag the hose over to it once this summer. This video shows the superb results from fall planting, and the superior interest one can get when planting awesome plants!
I hope that if you try fall planting, you will have the same great results we get.
Last warm sunny Sunday October 2021
Emperor 1 Japanese maple absolutely glowing against the clear blue sky
Pink dogwood’s fall foliage glowing in autumnal warmth today
Deep maroon of oak leaf hydrangea with its flawless leaves bringing fall color to our lives on this late fall Sunday.
Cripsii hinoki cypress with its fern spray foliage- golden yellow 12 months a year, bringing contrasting color all year long.
Hybrid leucothoe shining with it’s brilliant new growth all fall long on a compact deer-proof evergreen shrub in full sun or full shade, growing to just 2-3’ tall. Spectacular!
“White Out” hydrangea still flowering end of October. This cultivar has the purest white flowers on the deepest green leaves. When they say they flower all season, they aren’t kidding
Meet “ROBERTO,” a granite Easter island man hand carved in China, bought in Baltimore, shipped to Atlanta, trucked to Trumbull, moved to Cheshire, transplanted back to Trumbull. The overseer of my yard, protector of pets gone into the ground. I’m going to install a light under his chin for night time spookiness.
What is it about Roberto? I can’t put it into words. He is even-keeled. He is reliable. I can count on him to uphold his end of the agreement. He watches out for us, and we watch out for him. Sometimes, when the sun is right, I stare at Roberto and am so glad I met him.
Fall color of azalea ‘pink and sweet,’ a deciduous azalea. The pineapple in the center is spring’s flower bud. It’s worth waiting for. This is the type of unusual plant that people in the industry plant for themselves. Subtle beauty, unusual, less flashy, uncommon and therefore more interesting. The blossoms have a sweet scent.
Fall nursery pictures
Colorful sweetgum leaf fluttered into one of our bird baths yesterday.
Caught little fella right before he got crushed by a truck.
He shook my hand to thank me for my kindness before I dropped him into his new home.
Backlit japanese maple with its stunning fall coloration.
Odd insect larvae slithering it’s way around last week. Gross. Gross, yet a great example of the sophistication of mother nature’s creatures we know nothing about.
Small bottlebrush buckeye about to go dormant. This plant is a woodland winner with deer proof foliage that lives in full sun or full shade.
Acer palmatum aconitifolium absolutely glowing in the full morning sun thursday.
Deeply serrated foliage of full moon maple delights.
Flawless foliage of fothergilla gardenii unmolested by the travailles of summer heat, insects and fungus. White bottlebrush foliage before leaves in April, soft green foliage on a deer-proof self-pruning shrub. Full sun brings the very best fall colors. Not often planted by people.
Sugar maples glowing in the afternoon sun during rush hour last week. Birch trees about to go leafless for the winter. This time of the year is always beautiful and at the same time sad as Mother Nature seems to go away until the chickadees start singing in March.
Even our hydrangeas hesitate going dormant, clinging to color production even as their leaves turn orange and drop off the plants onto the gravel beneath.
There is beauty all around, even in the most unlikely places, offered to us by the most unlikely organisms.
Columnar ginkgo foliage yellowing right in front of my eyes. Flawless leaves immune to insects and disease offers a unique look in your yard.
2’ tall white faced hornets nest- biggest one I’ve ever seen. Swirly patterns represent one mouthful each of chewed cellulose to construct the passive air conditioning vents, walls, and living quarters of hundreds of hornets. I no longer kill these nests, realizing that “live and let live” works. You never even know they’re there until the leaves drop in oct/November. They serve a role in our ecosystem.
Weeping hornbeam headed off to Westport this week. One of the best year-round trees you can get.
Yellowish-green fall color leads into increased visibility of arthritic, tortured, gnarly canopy with steel-silver bark perfect for landscape lighting.
Course, after you burlap a tree, you gotta water it. iPhone-12 pro captures movement in a freeze frame world.
Fall colors Do not need to include mums.
Veronica is still flowering assuming it’s been cut back and well-fed all summer. It was cold this morning when I took this picture, and the bees were lethargic. I imagined that they were a couple of flower-climbing enthusiasts finishing a category 5 ascent… “HONEY, WE MADE IT!!!”
Blueberry plants bring the very best colors to any landscape, especially on cloudless sunny days. Notice the leathery flawless leaves, almost immune to pathogens all season long.
Redbud leaves keep churning out new growth well into October when most other trees are defoliating in a sad prelude to November’s depressing daylight savings time.
Stunning purple berries last a long time on the beauty berry shrub. I’ve had these for a few years, and they are STUNNINGLY unique in the fall.
Fall brings colors and great weather!
Caterpillars I found on an elm seedling. Why do they do this? I’m pretty sure nobody knows, and before humans eradicate life on earth, it would be nice to first unravel some of the mysteries. Maybe after we do that, humans will have more respect for nature and ALL the creatures that share time and space with us.
We were splitting wood this summer and found this pupating insect, name unknown. Look closely and you’ll observe sophistication and ingenuity on a level uncommon. How? Why? Who? How many millions of years to evolve??? I couldn’t find the answer to these questions despite emailing scientists.
Also this month- just one more of dozens of assaults on the environment, tRUMP again refuses to do what he needs to do before it’s too late for yet another endangered species:
Link to this article:
TRUE TO FORM, and entirely predictable, tRUMP refused to agree to a ban on using murderous mile-long drift nets off California’s coast. These nets trap EVERYTHING in them, drowning all mammals, turtles, and non-target fish analogous to using dynamite in the ocean. Kill everything and pick out of the pile of dead bodies the fish you want to sell and discard all the other forms of life. THANKS, tRUMP:
Link to article (you know it’s bad when it ends up in the Connecticut post):
Link to article:
Oh, tRump isnt done destroying our environment on his pathetic skulking out the back door of the White House. He has JUST put more nail in the Spotted Owl’s coffin. GO AWAY DOTARD!!!
December 20th, 2020