Discover when and how to install plantings in your yard

Summer has come to an end and fall is officially here. When is the best time to install new plantings? In the spring or fall? There is no simple answer, but by evaluating your needs you can make an educated decision based on several factors.

Where and why-

You’re looking through your favorite gardening magazine and you come across a plant you are not familiar with. It seems like it would be the perfect fit for an open space you are looking to fill in. When we are looking at what to install in our garden we often focus on color and texture. While those are key factors, there are other things we need to consider as well. One of the most important factors is the hardiness zone (Natick MA. 6a and 6b) (Ashland 6a) and why selecting a plant from your zone is so important as well as other characteristics to keep an eye out for. Before choosing a plant, you must consider wind, soil condition, sunlight, drainage, soil PH, and nutrient availability. It is also important to factor in what size space you want the plant to fill, maintenance needs, pest resistance and functionality. If you want a perennial, shrub, or tree to survive, it must tolerate year-round conditions in your area. Plants with no significant pest problems, drought tolerance, and beauty in at least two seasons are top of the list. 


Once you have selected a plant, it is important to install it properly. Improper planting, particularly planted too low, or too high are found to be major causes of tree mortality in managed landscapes. When planting the hole for the new plant it should be 2-3 times the size of the root ball and the root ball itself should be installed on undisturbed ground. While backfilling with native soil, the plant should be watered when halfway through, the water should be allowed to drain and rewater when backfilling is complete. In some situations, you will want to mix in some peat moss or compost. Once the plant is installed it is important to keep a proper watering regimen based on existing weather conditions.


Planting broadleaf evergreen shrubs in the fall might be better avoided until spring planting is possible. Mostly because they need more time to prepare for winter sun and strong winds. The stress of these elements can be extremely hard on the plants. When planting evergreens, you want to make sure they are installed by mid-October, ideally six weeks before the ground freezes, and you want to be careful not to disturb the root ball to give your new planting the best chance to survive. Deciduous plants on the other hand can be installed if the ground is workable. Warm air in the fall and damp soil conditions promote vigorous root growth. Select trees and bushes are considered a fall dig hazard and should only be installed in the spring. 

Information provided by Chris Hopkins, Greenleaf Landscaping LLC — experts at fall lawn care. And for more information on any of these topics, contact Greenleaf today. Talk to Greenleaf today: 774-421-9570. 


In the Natick Town News

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Victor Juri
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