A lot of people assume that spring is the only time to plant seeds, trees, and shrubs. In fact, fall is the best time to plant hardy annuals and most perennials do better when they are planted in the fall.
During the spring, even though the air is warm, the ground stays cold for a long time, inhibiting root growth. Spring planting can make for fast leaf growth and flowering before the root system is developed well enough to sustain it.
Many hardy plants that are planted in the spring are scrawny or look stressed during their first season. When planted in the fall, hardy plants continue to develop their root system long after their above ground parts have gone dormant. When spring arrives, there`s a well-developed and robust root system to support the growth of foliage and flowers.
Perennials that are planted in the spring can take 2 or 3 seasons to reach their full size while perennials planted in the fall usually reach full size in their first year.
Many hardy plants grow very well from seeds sown in the fall and some seeds require exposure to freezing temperatures in order to grow. Seeds that grow well when planted in the fall include pansies, snap dragons, and sweet peas. As the snow melts, the seeds will germinate and fill your beds with early season blossoms.
Lawns also grow better when they are planted in the fall. There`s less evaporation, more rainfall, and slower plant growth so roots have a better chance to get established. A lawn planted in the fall is better able to survive and thrive during the hot, dry days of next summer. Just be sure to plant a new lawn several weeks before the first killing frost of the year. In Calgary that could happen in early October.
So, just because summer is over, don’t put the gardening gloves away just yet. Now is the best time to plant many trees, shrubs, and seeds.