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October 27, 2017 3:41 pm

Time to Fill the Gaps in the Landscape

Saturday, September 2, 2017 @ 6:45 AM

Have you looked at your landscape and noticed a few empty spaces? This is a good time of year to add trees, shrubs and perennials to the landscape.

Cooler, consistent temperatures, and higher moisture are ideal planting and growing conditions. Cooler temperatures are less stressful on plants and also mean that plants will not dry out as quickly. Even as the air temperatures drop, the soil temperatures remain warm which is good for root development. We should have at least another 6-8 weeks (hopefully) of decent weather before winter temperatures set in. Another positive factor in planting now is that there are some really good deals on nursery stock. The selection may not be as good as it was in the Spring, but you can save a lot of money by purchasing trees, shrubs and perennials this time of year.

Planting in the fall has an added advantage as it will give trees, shrubs and perennials a head start on next spring. They may not be producing new growth above ground, but they are certainly putting all their energy towards their roots, and the tree/shrub will be established before the frost sets in. Next spring the tree/shrub will already have a good root system and be a step ahead of those planted in the spring. It will be better equipped to tolerate next summers heat and dry temperatures.

Fall is also a great time to put in a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn. Cooler air temperatures, and warm soil is the perfect growing combination. Cooler air temperatures will mean the soil won’t dry out as quickly so you don’t have to water as often, and warm soil will ensure good germination. Its important that the seeds germinate before winter sets in, because in the spring when there is run off it will take the ungerminated grass seed with it, resulting in a patch lawn. The other advantage to sowing lawn seed in the fall, is that weeds tend not to be as active this time of year, and so there is less competition for nutrition, space and moisture. Lawns planted in the fall will be able mature and become further established next spring before the dry hot days of summer.

Fall is also the time to plant hardy fall bulbs that come up next spring. Tulips, narcissus, crocus, scillia, alliums, fritillaria, hyacinths, snowdrops, muscari, etc., are all planted in early September so that they are able to establish a good root system before the frost sets into the ground. Next spring you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms.

In the vegetable garden, you can get a head start by planting garlic in the Fall. Garlic is grown from a clove and can be planted either in the spring or in the Fall. Planting garlic in the fall will allow it to form a good root system so that next spring it is a step ahead of the spring planted garlic.

When planting anything, it is important to do it properly to get the best results. Always ensure that the soil is well-drained, and if you have poor soil, add a good quality soil to the planting hole or site. Sprinkling bonemeal in the hole for trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs will help with root formation to ensure a good root system. Tamp the soil down, and water it in well. Continue to keep the soil moist throughout the fall until the frost sets into the ground.

Have a great long weekend and maybe plant a tree!


Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:

  • Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
  • Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road


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