Before winter comes in, autumn is the best time to plant bulbs, perennials, and other plants. Your new plants will have a better start next spring.
Autumn's cooler air temperatures are gentler on plants and gardeners after a hot summer, but the soil is still warm enough for roots to flourish until the ground freezes. Fall showers are frequent, but if it doesn't rain at least an inch every week, it's easy to deeply water plants. In the fall, pests and disease issues go away as well. In addition, garden centers often offer discounts in the late season as they try to sell out their remaining inventory before winter. Look for discounts on spring-blooming bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs, all of which can be planted in the fall until the first severe frost in your area. Also, don't forget about your lawn; cool-season turfgrass can be seeded now. Put these plants in the ground in the fall, and in the spring, they'll reward you with stunning color.
1. Spring Bulbs
Tulips and hyacinths, for example, require a period of cold to bloom, which is why they must be planted in the fall even if you won't be able to enjoy them until the following spring. Many bulbs come in a variety of colors, heights, and bloom dates, allowing you to select the colors, heights, and bloom times that best suit your garden. Plant bulbs that deer and other wildlife don't like to eat, such as daffodils, grape hyacinths, and alliums, if they're a problem in your yard.
2. Violas and Pansies
Planting pansies and their smaller cousins violas in the fall is a wonderful idea because the soil temperatures are still warm enough for their roots to grow enough to survive the winter. Plus, by planting them in the fall, you'll receive two seasons of delight from these cool-season favorites, as they'll frequently bloom again in the spring when the weather warms up. Look for cold hardy types like Cool Wave if you live somewhere where the ground freezes. Once your soil is frozen, cover them with a thick layer of mulch to protect them from the alternate freezing and thawing cycles that can heave these small plants out of the ground.
3. Turf Grass
The greatest time to establish new turf grass, whether by seeding or laying down new sod, is in the fall. Seeding is usually the less expensive and easier DIY choice when growing a new grass, but sod will provide more immediate results. If you only want to patch up a patchy or sparse lawn, rake the patches to expose the soil, then scatter grass seeds wherever you want them to grow, then lightly cover with compost or straw. Until cold temperatures hit, keep the new grass well watered.
4. Shrubs and Trees
It's the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs after the temperature cools down after summer but the soil remains warm enough for root development. Check with your local utility companies to see if there are any subterranean wires before digging. Plant trees and bushes at their natural soil lines wherever possible. Keep newly planted trees and shrubs well watered until the ground freezes to give them a head start before winter hibernation.
Autumn is one of the greatest times of year to add to your perennial collection. In your yard, you can also divide and replant existing perennials like hostas and astilbe. Water any fall-planted perennials until the ground freezes to encourage new, healthy root growth before plants go dormant for the winter. A blanket of shredded leaves or other mulch, layered approximately 3 inches deep around them, will protect them from frost heaving. They'll be ready to fill your garden beds with fresh leaves when spring arrives.