Fall is a season of transformation, as nature's vibrant summer colours give way to the warm, earthy hues of autumn. While many think of spring as the primary planting season, fall is an ideal time to establish new trees and shrubs in your garden. The soil is still warm from summer, and there's typically more rainfall, which helps plants settle in before winter's chill arrives. In this fall planting guide, we'll explore the steps to ensure your trees and shrubs thrive in the seasons to come.
Choosing the Right Trees and Shrubs
Before you start planting, it's crucial to select trees and shrubs that are well-suited to your garden's conditions. Consider factors such as soil type, sunlight, and space. In Fredericton's climate, you may want to opt for cold-hardy varieties that can withstand the region's winter temperatures. Popular tree choices include iconic Maple trees, resilient White Spruce for windbreaks, Eastern Red Cedar providing year-round greenery, and graceful Birch trees with distinctive white bark. Among favored shrubs are fragrant Lilacs, vibrant Rhododendrons, early-blooming Forsythias, and versatile Hydrangeas with color-changing blooms. Additionally, Mock Orange, Spirea, Weigela, and Dogwood shrubs offer diverse options for gardens.
Timing Is Key
Early fall, from late August to mid-October, is the optimal time for planting trees and shrubs. This allows them to establish their roots before the cold weather sets in. Be mindful not to plant too late into the fall when the ground begins to harden.
Preparation and Planting
- Choose the Right Location: Ensure your chosen spot receives adequate sunlight and has well-draining soil. Avoid areas prone to waterlogging.
- Dig the Hole: Dig a hole that's about twice the width of the root ball but only as deep as the root ball itself. This allows the roots to spread easily.
- Amend the Soil: Mix the soil you've removed from the hole with organic matter, such as compost, to improve fertility and drainage.
- Planting Properly: Gently remove the tree or shrub from its container and place it in the hole at the same depth it was in the pot. Fill the hole with the soil mixture, patting it down gently as you go.
- Mulch and Water: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Water thoroughly to help settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.
Aftercare and Maintenance
The work doesn't end with planting. To ensure your new trees and shrubs thrive:
- Regular Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged during the first year of growth.
- Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring to provide essential nutrients.
- Pruning: Prune lightly, if necessary, to shape the plant and remove dead or damaged branches. Fall is an excellent time for this.
- Protection: Be prepared to protect your plants from harsh winter conditions, especially for young or delicate varieties. Wrapping them with burlap can help prevent wind and frost damage.
- Monitor Growth: Keep an eye on your trees and shrubs throughout the year for signs of pests or disease, addressing any issues promptly.
Fall is a season of renewal, and by planting trees and shrubs during this time, you're investing in the future beauty and health of your garden. With careful selection, preparation, and ongoing care, your trees and shrubs will establish strong roots and flourish, adding to the tapestry of colours and life in your garden for years to come. Happy planting!