Fall is a great time of year to plant new trees and shrubs. The cooler weather is easy on new plantings and allows shrub and tree roots to get established before the hot weather returns. A new irrigation system – or making zone adjustments to your current sprinkler system – will help your new fall plantings thrive!
As the heat of summer winds down and cooler temperatures announce fall’s imminent arrival, the cooler weather is also a signal to start planning fall outdoor projects! Many don’t realize fall is one of the best times of year for homeowners to plant new bushes, shrubs, and trees. By installing these plantings in the fall, root systems get a chance to extend for a few months before these shrubs and trees go dormant for the winter. When these plantings reawaken in the spring, they have a healthy head-start prior to the arrival of the heat of summer.
Installing an automatic underground sprinkler system with zones specifically calibrated for the new plantings is also a wise choice for fall. Doing plantings and sprinkler system work in unison causes less stress on grass and other plantings that are disrupted during excavation – and it allows the irrigation system to lend a hand in ensuring your new plantings stay hydrated before going into winter hibernation.
It’s best to plan your new irrigation system (or plan to add zones to an existing system) prior to installing your new plantings for a few reasons. First, if you have your underground sprinkler system plan complete with the new plantings in mind, the irrigation specialists have fewer obstacles when installing the system. In addition, with your fall planting plans complete, the Heinen irrigation team will have a better understanding of your landscape’s complete watering needs, which allows them to design and install the most efficient sprinkler system for the property.
Why is fall the best season for planting new trees and shrubs?
Shrubs, bushes, and trees are some of the larger investments when it comes to home landscaping. So, of course, you want to give these new plants every opportunity to thrive! These larger plantings experience less temperature stress when installed in the fall and, as an additional bonus, come springtime, your new shrubs and trees will be flourishing while the yard next door is still contemplating what plants to install, let alone getting them planted in the ground.
Trees and shrubs enter their dormancy period during late fall, so they are predominantly focused on extending their root systems just after planting. This is also the time of year when trees and shrubs are pulling as many nutrients from the soil as possible, as it is much easier for them to do so when the soil is still relatively warm. During the fall, the ground retains residual warmth from the summer months, winter means hibernation as the soil often freezes and, even in spring, the ground is still cold and hard from the preceding winter months.
As for summer, while warm soil is great for freshly transplanted shrubs and trees, hot weather is not! Evaporation zaps water from trees and shrubs and the ground can get quite dry. Spring’s heavy downpours are often too much to absorb – with much of the moisture running off the nearby soil versus deep saturation. The cooler temperatures of fall lessen the stress on plants that comes with being transplanted. During the winter, hibernating trees and shrubs need much less care and attention than they do during spring and summer when they are focused on increasing height and foliage.
Trees and Shrubs as Landscape Highlights
You can avoid dull and boring, one-note landscape designs by creating visual interest with a variety of trees and shrubs. Plus, having a variety of plantings – from annuals and perennials flowers, to ground cover, short bushes, manicured shrubs, and varied tree types and heights – will provide your property with a varying seasonal look all year long.
Many homeowners have taken to using robust shrubs and trees with low-lying branches to create natural privacy around their homes. Some do this by planting them in decorative berms along a property line or to line various hardscape areas, like a porch or patio.
Many homeowners already have a wooden fence around their property that keeps outdoor living spaces secured and private, but even a well-constructed wooden fence can still detract from the natural look and feel of a yard. Great landscape design is all about finding a balance between the natural elements and hardscape elements on the property. Planting shrubs intermittently along a fence line balances out the harshness of the fence by reintroducing eye-pleasing greenery and can create visual interest with varying heights, shapes, and textures of bushes, trees, and shrubs.
If you’re curious to learn more about the various varieties of bushes, shrubs, and trees that thrive in the Kanas City climate, try Heinen’s convenient Online Plant Catalog to start exploring which shrubs and trees appeal to you along with other attributes such as expected full growth height, sun or shade preference, and if and when blooms may appear.
Take Advantage of a Fall Irrigation Installation
Prepare to protect your new shrubs and trees before installation with an automated sprinkler system designed to provide the perfect amount of hydration for each of your various new plantings. Newly transplanted shrubs and trees need to follow a specific watering schedule to prosper – which can often be hard to achieve with the decades-old lug-the-hose-around-the-yard method.
Automated irrigation systems are much more than a series of pipes crisscrossing your lawn, spraying water. To ensure your lawn and landscaping elements are receiving the right amount of water, the irrigation specialists carefully map out your property and divide it into zones. Every zone of your yard has its own watering needs that will be matched by the placement of compatible sprinkler heads. Shrubs and trees have different watering requirements than a property’s lawn areas, and shady areas are zoned differently than sunny areas.
When planning for new plantings, Heinen’s irrigation pros work with Heinen’s landscape team, discussing the location of the new plantings, mapping out irrigation zone areas, specking the best sprinkler heads for the irrigation task at hand (hi-casting heads for taller plantings, short casting heads for plants close to the home’s foundation). If the property already has an irrigation system, the Heinen team can add the necessary zone upgrades to account for new additions to your landscaping.
With cooler months on the horizon, it can be easy to shrug and just wait for spring to plan new landscaping. But when you install new shrubs and trees in the fall, you’ll see the results of your landscape upgrades come to life well before spring! And, by installing a new irrigation system in the fall, you’ll be ahead of the game for spring!