If summer is the season for growing, then what exactly should we do with our plants in the autumn season? Well, you may think this is simply the time where plants die off, hopefully, to be reborn next year. A bit of light raking around the garden and your work is done, right? Well, not really. There is a little bit more that goes into it than that, for the truly dedicated landscaper.
It’s true that summer is the time for growing – leaves and flowers, that is. During the fall, perennials and shrubs still have needs that you can assist with, leading towards a brighter growth next summer. You see, this is when they grow their roots. The roots are like little babies growing in the soil – they thrive in the warm sub terrain that has been slowly rising its temperature from all of the hot, sunny days. They still require nourishment, which they’ll need through the water. The warm days of the autumn season combined with its cool nights provide the absolutely perfect climate for the roots to take hold of the earth.
Regular rainfall in the autumn is normally an important factor for the roots to do their thing underground, but it is not always a given. At Campbell & Ferrara, we monitor our plant’s growth strategically, even into the fall – and we always ensure that the plant’s roots have enough water year round. We recommend you do the same! It’s especially important if you are experiencing a dry fall season to ensure that you keep watering the plants regularly.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on that wind. It does have a drying effect on the soil, just like the tumble setting in a clothes dryer. The more wind, the more you should water. It also can dehydrate the tissue in the plants themselves, as the plants prepare for winter by rerouting their juices and nutrients to flow to below the earth.
Think of it this way – your plants are readying themselves for hibernation. They are sending all of their fluid nutrients down to their roots to prepare for the winter, which is exactly why the leaves begin to fall off. This is okay if it happens at the right time in the season, but if it happens too early, the plants will easily dry out and kill off the above-ground buds that are essential. This will only serve to stress the plant out.
You may want to consider watering a little bit different in the autumn than you do in blooming seasons. North facing plants hold water better than those facing south, so an overall irrigation system might overdo it. Hand watering, at this time of year, will likely give you a better result.
When it comes time to stop watering, you’ll know it. Don’t let those frosty nights turn your lush soil into an icy patch that no plant could survive. On the other hand, remember that fall goes all the way into December. A little extra watering through this time, avoiding the freezing temperatures, will give you a healthier, more lush and beautiful landscape come springtime.