The Sun News

Mote: Fall a great time for planting trees, shrubs

Many people do not catch the “planting bug” until spring, but fall is an excellent time to garden. Fall is especially a great time to plant tree and shrubs. Planting trees and shrubs in the fall and early winter gives them an optimum opportunity to establish before the summer heat and possible drought arrives. Even though the tops of deciduous plants go dormant for the winter and the tops of evergreen plants slow down, roots continue to grow. Since the tops demand little from the roots, the plants’ energy can be funneled to the roots for growth and establishment.

When planting in the fall, you will do everything that you do in the spring except fertilize. The best time to fertilize your plants will be in the late winter or early spring. Here are some basic tips for fall planting. When planting a group of shrubs, thoroughly cultivate the beds 8-12 inches deep. For a single shrub, dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the plant’s root ball. When planting balled and burlapped plants, cut the cord or wire from around the stem and remove it. Then remove the top third or the burlap from around the root ball. Also make sure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Back fill the hole with the same soil you removed. Lightly pack it with your hands and water when it’s half-filled and completely filled to remove air pockets around the roots. Cover the planting surface with 3-5 inches of mulch. Just like the summer, plants will need water in the fall and winter when it’s dry. When watering, direct water to the root ball where it is needed the most.

Now is also time to plant your fall vegetable garden. There are several types of vegetable crops that can be planted and harvested in the cooler months. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips all work well in a fall garden.

Many deciduous trees have lovely foliage in the fall, but when it comes to winter they are quite bare. To add some color, look for deciduous trees that have colorful bark like the Coral Bark Japanese Maple. Evergreens can also add color to your winter landscape. One of my favorite winter flowers is the pansy. Pansies provide a variety of color in the winter. You can begin planting pansies in October. Spring flowering bulbs should also be planted in October-December

Fall is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather, and while you are outside you might as well do a little gardening.


For more information on any program area, contact Houston County Extension at 478-987-2028 or drop by our office in the old courthouse, downtown Perry, 801 Main St. Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit our website at for more news about your local Extension office.

*Check out my blog at


Aug. 28: CAFO/NPDES permitting meeting, UGA Tifton Campus, Tifton 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Sept. 1: Labor Day, Office closed

Sept. 11: Fall Planting Class, Houston County Extension Office, Perry 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cost is $10, Register by Sept. 5

Sept 18-20: MGCG Fall Plant Sale, State Farmers Market, Macon

Oct. 2-12: Georgia National Fair

Oct. 2-5: State Market Lamb and Goat Show

Oct. 2-5: GNF Steer and Heifer Show

Oct. 9-11: Junior Market Hog Show

Oct. 11-12: Junior Invitational Steer and Heifer Show