Although many people think spring is the best time for planting, fall is actually a much better season for putting new trees, shrubs and perennials in the ground, moving existing plants to a new location or planting spring-flowering bulbs. An added bonus at this time of year is that plants are often on sale as nurseries reduce their stock for winter. Friends often have perennials or shrubs to share as well.
Spring soils are cold and do not encourage root development. Fall soils, still warm from summer, allow roots to grow as air temperatures drop and snow flies. With these fall-established roots, fall-planted shrubs and trees will be stronger and grow more quickly next spring than those planted later.
Diane called about transplanting roses now. Once the warm days are over, but before the harsh cold begins, is a great time to move a rose bush. Water the rose thoroughly for a couple of days prior to moving it, to let the roots soak up enough water to reduce shock to the plant. Prepare the new hole in order to take the rose from its old location and immediately move it to its new one. Avoid pruning at this time. Water the rose well. Then mulch around it 4 to 6 inches deep. This will retain soil moisture and maintains soil warmth, giving roots time to develop before a deep freeze. Keep mulch 12 inches away from the trunk to discourage voles and mice from eating the bark and trunk tissue, not only for roses, but also for any shrubs and trees.
Someone else wondered about using root stimulators when transplanting or planting. These products are not necessary for success. However, if you do use a root stimulator, make sure it contains a rooting hormone and fertilizer rather than just vitamin B1. The vitamin B1 is for marketing purposes rather than actual effect.
Finally, with all fall-plantings, water weekly for the first three to four weeks, as the weather allows. Then, back off to watering once or twice per month throughout the winter, depending on the weather and precipitation.
The final class in University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s free “Grow Your Own” series, will be “Harvesting, Preserving and Winterizing” on November 8 from 6 to 8 p.m., at 2621 Northgate, Suite 12 in the Carson City Cooperative Extension classroom. Call 887-2252 to reserve a spot.