F or most people autumn is a time of transition. Summer vacations have ended, school is back in session, and less time is spent on outdoor activities. Yet, this is by far the best time to be planning and planting for the following year. The reason for sharing this valuable information now is to prepare avid gardeners for the sequence of activities that should take place later—say around October.   

The benefits of Fall planting are many.  Most obvious is the fact that plants have completed their growth phase and are entering a state of dormancy. This means they are easier to handle and the potential damage and transplanting trauma is reduced. The cooler and shorter days which bring on dormancy also make subsequent root development more effective. As soils are still warm, bulbs, perennials, trees, and many native plants are best planted now. 

The winter rains and cool weather encourage gradual establishment and primary root growth. Planted at this time, your plants will be better able to fend for themselves and be that much more sensational the following year. 

Availability of plants is another important reason for planting in autumn. Growers gear their production to have more bulbs and perennials available at this time of year. That means costs will be less and the selection will be greater. Don’t wait until plants are blooming to decide what you might want; it may be disappointing.   

A few hours spent digging in your garden this fall can be as pleasant as it would be in spring, but the satisfaction you derive from your foresight can’t be matched.