Did you know that fall is a great time to plant and transplant? The cool weather and frequent rain are beneficial for plants.  Roots can establish until the ground freezes without having to support top growth.  Plus, all Farmer John’s trees, shrubs, and roses are 40% off and perennials are 20% off!  We have an excellent selection of Japanese Maples, specialty evergreens, Hydrangeas, and many more trees, shrubs, and perennials to choose from.  Here are some tips to get you started planting this fall.

Our nursery department recommends you plant approximately 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Typically mid-December in Michigan. There is no need to fertilize trees and shrubs in the fall. Plant in your native soil and use a product with Mycorrhizae at the time of planting. Mycorrhizae are naturally occurring, beneficial fungi that work with plant roots to increase surface area. When used at the time of planting this will help roots establish faster. Farmer John’s carries Mycorrhizae products including Espoma Biotone Plant Starter Plus and Mykes.

When planting trees and shrubs, make sure the root flare is at grade.  The root flare is where the first primary roots come off the trunk and should be visible at the soil surface. Think of the flare you see on trees growing in a forest.   Sometimes it is necessary to remove existing soil that was brought up around the root flare when the tree or shrub was potted.  

 Mulch is beneficial for moisture retention and weed control.  It also adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.  Two to three inches of mulch is a good depth over the root zone but leave a donut hole around the trunk.   You do not want the root flare to be buried under mulch or soil.

Fall watering is important! Watering in the fall gives plants a reserve for the winter, especially evergreens. Newly planted trees and shrubs need more consistent watering than established plants. When you’re watering make sure to deep soak the root ball. Slow deep soaks a few times a week are what trees and shrubs prefer.  Established plants need approximately 1” of water per week, while newly planted trees and shrubs need up to 2” of water per week. Plants can be overwatered so check the soil before watering.  The soil should be moist about an inch down. If the soil is dry then it is time to water, if the soil is still saturated wait and check again the next day. Continue watering evergreens until the ground freezes and deciduous plants lose their leaves.

Just because the weather is getting colder it doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch your beautiful garden. Save these tips and happy fall planting!