We’re getting pretty close to winter here in Massachusetts, but we’ve still got some time left for landscaping and gardening. We can even do some planting for next spring if we get going pretty quickly. This two-part article includes tips to help you plan your fall gardening and landscaping activities. And, if this all seems a bit overwhelming, remember that you can always call on Acres of Green Landscaping Services to help out. We’re ready with advice and can do all the hard work too!

Fall officially begins in late September, so you can start planting around that time and keep planting through mid October or early November.  Here are the do’s and don’ts of Fall planting.

#1: Trees

If you are thinking of adding some evergreens to your yard, now is a really good time to do it. They’ll have the cool weather over the next month or so to start building a solid root structure and settle in before expending their energy for new growth next summer. Water is going to be the most crucial part of helping your new evergreen gain solid footing, so don’t skimp. Long, steady low flows of water that reach deep under the tree are best.

If you want to plant deciduous trees, wait until just after you’re fairly certain that spring has sprung, and the ground is thawed. They’ll be just coming out of their dormant period and ready to grow some new roots and leaves.

Ash, alder, maple, hawthorn and sycamore trees do well. Spruce and pine are also good choices, but be sure to get them in before the end of September.

Whichever types of trees you are planting, it is best to avoid the hot summer months. It’ll take way too much work on your part to keep a young tree thriving through the heat. And, the odds are not in your favor.

Your fall-planted trees are going to be more mature, and better prepared to deal with the heat and drought conditions they’ll face next summer. So, don’t wait. Go ahead and plant those trees.

#2: Perennials

Early fall is a good time to plant perennials. Whether you’re adding shrubs or flowering plants to your landscape, the rain and cool fall weather will give them an opportunity to establish strong roots before they go dormant for the winter. In some areas they may keep growing during the winter, but only in the most mild New England climates. Spring is also a good planting time. But you’re more likely to get too much rain in spring than you are during the fall.

Add some mulch when planting in the fall, and give your new plants an extra inch or two when winter is on the horizon. That’ll give them a little more protection. If they grow well between planting and the first snow, trim just the most recent growth so they can focus all of their winter energy on growing strong roots. Save fertilizing for the spring. You don’t want to encourage your new plants to use energy on growing now.

There are some plants that you should probably wait until spring to plant. Anything that blooms pretty late in the season like mums or asters are good examples.

We hope you’ve learned a lot in our first installment about fall gardening in Massachusetts. Give us a call if you’d like some help. We’re located in Walpole and serve all of the surrounding areas.Happy planting!