Fall 2017
By Jennifer Leach
Environmental Education & Sustainability Coordinator
Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

shrub fall plantingIf you’ve been waiting for the weather to cool off before tackling a big planting project in your yard, you’re not alone. And it turns out that fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs – not just for you, but for your plants as well!

In our region, early October to mid-December is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs in your landscape. That’s when soils are still aerated and warm enough for newly installed plants to grow new roots. Trees and shrubs planted in fall get a head start on developing an extensive root system over the winter, enabling them to allocate more resources to top growth when spring arrives.

Planting in fall also helps alleviate transplant stress. Newly transplanted trees and shrubs have undersized root systems, and are frequently stressed by lack of sufficient water which can easily occur on hot, sunny days. Cloudy, cool weather reduces transpiration, which gives plants time to grow more roots and increase their capacity for water uptake when temperatures warm up.

Landscape plants installed in fall typically have higher rates of survival and need less water and maintenance overall – good news for you, your plants, and your wallet. So give your trees and shrubs a head start and plant them in the fall!

For more information on sustainable gardening practices, visit the Natural Yard Care program’s Snohomish County website at https://snohomishcountywa.gov/1097/Natural-Yard-Care