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Fall is the best time for planting trees and shrubs.

Proper planting any time of year goes a long way in the long-term success of a landscape, but the best time to plant perennials is in the fall. The term perennial applies to any plant, including trees and shrubs, that lives through winter to continue growing in spring.

Proper Perennial Planting

1. Make sure you know whether the plant you choose prefers sun or shade, then plant accordingly.

2. When planting anything, dig the hole at least twice the width of the pot size or root ball, and plant it about a half inch to an inch above soil level. The worst thing you can do is plant it too deep.

3. Giving a plant the right amount of water helps it get established as well. Spring and summer transplants will need regular deep watering until fall. In summer, plants are expending their energy on growth. That’s why autumn—beginning in October up until the ground freezes and becomes hard—is the best time to plant. Trees and shrubs use fall and winter to improve their root systems, and weather conditions keep the need for water low.

4. With trees and shrubs that are balled and burlapped, once you place the root ball in the hole, you need to remove the string, and cut the burlap off the top.

5. Fertilize fall transplants of perennials with a root stimulator. It‘s usually marked as such, but if not, look for a high middle number on the fertilizer packs. “N-P-K” stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; these are three primary nutrients for healthy plant growth. Phosphorus, particularly, helps promote healthy root growth.

6. Know which plants do well in Tennessee’s climate, and in buy plants from a local plant grower. When you buy plants from Tennessee nurseries and greenhouses, you know that tree or shrub has been thriving out in the field of a Tennessee nursery and is acclimated to Tennessee’s weather. When you purchase directly from the grower, you can get solid information about where in a landscape that plant belongs.

For a list of local plant growers and garden centers, click here.

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