Experts say fall best time for planting

By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer

If you want a spring garden blooming with flowers and green lawn grass now is the time to get digging, experts say.
It may seem like it is too early to be thinking about a spring garden, but experts say the fall is the best time to plant.
“I think fall is the best time (to plant) because the ground temperature is still really warm and the days and nights are cool and the plants take better and are less stressed,” said Traci Franklin, nursery manager at Hamilton Nurseries for three years.
Charles Guthals, who owns Guthals with his two sons, agrees.
“There is now a national campaign that says fall is for planting,” Guthals said. “When the root system doesn’t have to support the part you and I look at the root system can flourish,”
Guthals also said that there are many planting options for the fall.
“There’s no shortage of plant life that can be planted now,” he said. “Anything you can buy in a container can be planted in the fall.”
Franklin said fall is also a great time to seed lawns.
“The seed germinates and you don’t have as many weeds because of the cold weather, she said.
A press release from the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center suggests looking for estimated flowering times on the labels of the bulbs available.
The Dutch, who account for nearly 90 percent of all flower bulbs grown in American gardens, put these times on all the labels of all bulbs sold in America, according to the release.
Gardeners should be flexible.
According to the release, “Exactly when flowers bloom will depend on nature and the spring conditions in your area that year, but by taking a few easy steps, you should have a terrific garden that satisfies for months on end.”
Guthals warns planters to be weary of planting bulbs like tulips and daffodils too early in the fall.
“We really like to plant things like that toward the middle of October so that they don’t try to grow in the fall rather than the spring,” he said.
Just because plants are dormant, they still need some water, Guthals said.
“Its important once a plant has been planted if we have a dry winter — like we have had — it’s important to give plants some winter moisture.”
Even though you can’t plant when the ground is frozen, there is still garden winterizing that can be done said Franklin. She suggests cutting back perennials and bushes and shrubs.