- Cathy Rees
How planting in the fall will prepare you for a stunning winter garden
Shopping - By shopping in late summer with winter in mind, you will have a better idea of what a mature plant will look like and how best to site it in your garden. Choose plants with instant structure and beauty like conifers, shrubs with attractive branching patterns, bark, berries or seed heads. Group them for effect or add them as punctuation in multiple winter views.
Timing - Here in the north our biggest concern with fall planting is getting things in the ground with adequate time to establish some new roots to prevent them from being heaved up during our oscillating spring thaws and freezes. I typically try to do all my planting from the end of August through September. I wait for a break from the heat of August and return of the fall rains. This is a good time to transplant as well.
Mulching - Mulching your new plantings and transplants is especially important their first winter. By blanketing the ground around your new plants with fir boughs or other light fluffy material that has plenty of air space, you can help insulate the ground and prevent the freezing and thawing oscillations that can harm or even kill a plant. Once the ground is frozen, load on the mulch materials to prevent the sun from warming the soil around the plant and cause it to thaw, sending the wrong message to the plant and melting ice that will refreeze again when evening comes.