The Do’s And Don’t Of Fall Plantings In Massachusetts
Planting things in the fall around Massachusetts can produce some wonderful results that you’ll really appreciate in spring. However, there are a few Best Practices you should observe, so that you don’t make a mistake which will end up harming your new plants. By making yourself aware of these few simple guidelines below, you should be able to have some hardy plants when the winter snow finally recedes next year. Fall Plantings
Do plant these shrubs and trees
Some flowers take especially well in the fall, for instance peonies and day lilies, as well as lilacs, dogwoods, wisterias, crabapples, and sweetspires. Shade trees like maple, katsura, honey locust, ash, and plane tree also are well-situated to take to a new environment in the fall. If you’re planting ornamental grasses, these should be in the ground by mid-October.
Don’t plant these shrubs and trees
Broadleaf evergreen shrubs and trees might better be avoided until a spring planting is possible. This is because they need more time to prepare for the winter sun and strong winds, and the stress of these elements can be very harmful. If you do go ahead and attempt a fall planting, try to disturb the root ball as little as possible, because they are more sensitive to interference at this time of year.
Do water until the ground freezes
Make sure to keep watering your newly planted shrubs and flowers right up to the time that the ground freezes. Don’t make the mistake of cutting off the water supply after the first hard frost of the season, because there is quite likely to be more warm weather afterward, and your plants will quickly dry out if you don’t maintain the water supply.
Don’t over-water your new plants
On the other hand, you need to avoid the temptation to over-water your plants, simply because they don’t need as much water as they would during the heat of summer. Your goal should be to keep the root ball moist without letting it get soggy. This is approximately equivalent to having 1″ of natural rainfall each week that your plants are in the ground.
Do fertilize up to mid-October
Fertilizing from September through mid-October is usually very healthy for your new plants. By halting any fertilizing in mid-October, you’ll avoid promoting new growth that won’t have time to harden before the cold winds of winter arrive. After that, you can begin fertilizing again in spring before any new leaves have a chance to develop.
Don’t fertilize after this time
Don’t fertilize after the middle of October. This is because top growth has already stopped for the year, and all nutrients will simply be stored until spring so that strong growth can occur. Keep in mind that most organic fertilizers are not effective when the ground temperature dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit anyway, so you will be wasting most of the fertilizer that you invest in plants after this time. Also, don’t bother fertilizing during the heat of summer, because this won’t achieve anything like the results you were hoping for.