How do I take care of my fall plants?

Donald Sherbeyn


It is finally Fall

As avid gardeners we know there are going to be some incredible end of season sales going on at most nurseries. We have already chosen the location in our garden we would like to put some more color, or add a new bed. We have laid out lines to show space requirements and probably have a soil test sitting on the garden bench just waiting for fall to get here. We begin the hunt looking for just the right plants at a more than perfect price. With each find we see our garden come to life a little more. We smile and take great pride knowing we will get to enjoy the blooms, scents and textures for years to come.

As I thought about what to write this month and moved through my day to day I continued to get many of the same questions from friends and clients.

How do I take care of my newly planted plants?

This question is a loaded one with no exact answer because we are dealing with nature. We have wind, temperature, sun exposure, rain or the lack of and then of course the plant itself. We need to figure in soil make up, quality of soil, plant species and plant needs.

To be successful in the garden, remember PPPI. Proper Planning Prior to Installation,  it starts with proper planning and then proper installation.

Know your garden space. If your garden space is protected by large trees then the shade and total amount of light you’re getting should be included in your planning. Plantings that will do well in matching light conditions should be chosen and plantings with similar needs should be planted with each other.

Remember those same large trees are landscape pigs. The trees are going to suck out moisture and nutrients from your soil so amendments will be necessary. Soil can change in as little as 3′ so just because one plant is dry may not mean all of them are I prefer to use a soaker system in areas around trees to help balance the moisture in the soil. However if you’re going to be hand watering check your plantings at the root crown prior to watering them. Plants can tolerate a lack of water better than they can to much water. Remember to feed your planting. Even if you have properly prepped the soil prior to planting, plantings in the shadow of a large tree will be competing for nutrients with that tree’s root system and will need a sustainable supply if you want them to be successful.

Evergreen plantings planted in the fall should be watched closely for winter burn. During winters where there is not much moisture and cold temperatures evergreens such as holly, Arborvitae and magnolia are very susceptible to winter burn. Keep an eye on your soil around your trees. I have found installing a piece of 2″ pvc to the bottom of the root ball allows me to get water below the frozen ground and helps to reduce the risk of winter burn. Putting a cap on the top of this pvc helps to keep the cold out as well as would be unwanted tenants looking for a place to get out of the winter cold.

As always if you have any questions about your gardens don’t hesitate to contact me via email or even on our facebook or twitter Sherbeyn’s Lawn and Landscape/facebook @SherbeynsLandscape or