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Fall Isn't Just for Pumpkins

When you think of fall, you might think pumpkins and trick or treating toddlers- but it’s also great time to maximize your yard’s potential.  For example, did you know that fall is one of the best times of the year to plant trees and shrubs? Trees and shrubs are an important part of any landscape as they help create dimension in your yard, can shade a patio or create a natural barrier between your home and other buildings. Trees and shrubs are an investment in your home and outdoor space and can completely transform the look of your yard.

If you have wanted to plant a tree or shrub and the reasons above are prompting you to action, you might want to know why fall is the best time to plant.  In the fall shrubs and trees become dormant above the ground, however, below the surface the roots have months to grow strong. This allows the plant to establish itself in the soil, so in the spring it is ready to produce strong leaves and new growth above the ground for you to enjoy.

Keep these tips in mind to give your new shrubs and trees a great head start:

  • Do research on shrubs and trees that do best in your area and see if they are suitable for fall planting.   
    • For example, Maple Trees, Pine, Crabapple, and other trees can be planted successfully in the fall.
  • After choosing your perfect plant. Research your plant's full size and choose a spot that will fit into your landscaping plan once the tree or shrubs reach full maturity.
  • It's important to keep in mind that you don’t want to plant trees too close to your home or neighbor’s as it may cause damage to the buildings and tree roots.
  •  Add mulch to lock in moisture and create a warm blanket for winter. Make sure to leave 1 or 2 inches around the trunk to prevent disease. 
  • In Nebraska, it is best to plant between September and Mid October to allow for good root establishment before winter sets in.

For more great tips, visit this UNL Horticultural Extension article.

Published: October 11, 2017