We are fortunate in Middle Tennessee to have many seasons we can plant in. Technically, many years we can plant in each season. Professional landscape companies use this to their advantage, as you will see plants being planted during every season of the year here in our planting zone. If we have a harsh winter, landscapers will not generally plant in winter because the ground is frozen. The last year or two that hasn’t been too big of an issue, as we have had mild winters.
We often have homeowners ask us when they should plant shrubs. When is the best time for homeowners to plant? Let's talk about that in today's blog post.
The Best Time to Plant is Fall
When speaking of root growth and plant establishment, the very best time of the year to plant is during fall. Although plants go dormant during winter in the Southeast, their roots continue to grow. This gives a newly planted shrub many months to focus on root establishment while the rest of the plant is resting (in dormancy). When spring and summer come again, the plant will have had time to develop a deeper root system (although it does take a couple of years for a plant to be truly established), leading to a healthier and more established plant.
Watering Newly Planted Shrubs
Shrubs are considered "newly planted" for the first full year they are planted. When planting in fall, know that you will need to water your new shrubs deeply every 3-4 days when we are not receiving adequate rainfall. Deep watering is equal to setting a hose at the base of each plant for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 days. This allows the water to seep down deep into the ground. Roots are then encouraged to grow deeper in search of that refreshment, leading over time to a well-established shrub.
It is best to water early in the morning before work or later in the evening as the sun is setting. This is because the sun will evaporate much of the water before it soaks down into the ground if the plant is being watered in the middle of the day. If you are leaving a hose on a plant and tending to other activities around the house, it is a good idea to set a timer so you will remember the hose is going and to move it to another plant (this is coming from someone who has forgotten the hose was on and left it on for waaaaay too long before!).
Fall is most often the driest season in our area. It is easy to think that summer would be the driest season because of the hot temperatures! Therefore, even if the temperatures have cooled down, it is still imperative to stay committed to watering your newly planted plants every few days during this season.
In our next post, we will talk about how to amend your soil, how to know if you need to, and how deep to plant shrubs. Stay tuned and ask any questions below!