Can I Still Plant?

Can I Still Plant?

by Maria Beers


At this time of the year, I get asked everyday if this is still a good time to plant. The fact is that for many plants now is actually THE BEST time to plant!

With the days getting shorter and colder, plants switch to using all their energy preparing for winter, not new growth. Soon leaves will start to drop, the sap stream will stop and 100% of the energy will go into root development. And while the air temperature feels colder, the soil is still warm enough for plants to settle in.

Any plants that you buy now will probably be root bound after growing in a pot for a whole season. It is really important to break up that root ball when you plant and lightly massaging the roots will likely not be enough. Loosen all the wound up roots, especially if they are tangled into each other as the plant can strangle itself. If necessary, take a knife, make cuts in the roots and roughen them up. Make sure you have watered the plant before you do this.

Fall is also a good time for making changes in your yard. You can still see what is growing where and it is easy to remember what was not working well. Perennials can be dug up and split if necessary; most perennials can be split and re-located in fall or spring. For peonies and lilies, fall is the best time to move them while tender perennials and grasses are better relocated in spring. Shrubs and most evergreens can be re-located until mid-October, however, I would not plant or re-locate cedars any later than late-September. All other trees can be planted or transplanted anytime as long as you can dig in the ground.

Remember to mix in some Sea Soil, earthalive™ Soil Activator and Root Rescue when you transplant. Sea Soil is our best recommendation for compost here at Hole’s. It’s made from composted forest and fish fibres. I love the smell of it, it reminds me of a forest in fall. Soil Activator and Root Rescue are, simply put, probiotics and beneficial microorganisms for the roots. They help the plant absorb more nutrients and improve its health and immune system.
Growing healthy plants and getting them through the winter starts with supporting the roots.

If you have any hardy perennials or roses in a planter that you would like to survive winter, then this is time to plant them in the ground. In our harsh Alberta winters, nothing will survive in a pot, the roots and crown of the plant needs to be sheltered in soil.

Lastly, make sure not to forget to water during fall and soak everything really well before the ground freezes, usually towards the end of October.