With leaves falling around us and plants moving into seasonal dormancy, one would be forgiven for thinking of Fall as an end to the life cycle and growth of plants. However, now is a perfect time to incorporate new selections into your property to get a head start through the winter months. The fall season offers plenty of time for trees and shrubs to gain significant root establishment and growth to bring you a better spring landscape next year. That being said, some plants can succeed in this cooling environment better than others while also offering benefits that bolster their importance through the season.

Fall is the ideal time to incorporate many items into your landscape. Spring bulbs, turf grass, and certain trees and shrubs will all thrive thanks to initial warm soil temperatures giving way to cooler air temperatures. Spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and alliums will grow during winter to give you beautiful color displays come spring. These flowers will also increase the sustainability of your property by using their fibrous root systems to keep vital nutrients in your ecosystem to be used by other nearby plants. Colorful plants like these also serve as essential sources of nectar for our pollinators like bees.

Use this season to prepare your lawn and turf for rougher months ahead. Living in a transitional zone here in Virginia, it is often difficult to get the timing right on caring for certain grasses for your property. Warm-season grasses like bermudagrass and St. Augustinegrass struggle through our cold winters while cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass can have trouble in our hot summers. For our region in this time of year, warm-season grasses should be mowed until their growth stops and given reduced amounts of water while cold-season grasses should be given a few extra weeks of growth and extra hydration moving into winter. Overseed stressed warm-weather grasses with perennial ryegrass for extra winter color while testing the soil of cool-season grasses for necessary supplements like lime.

As for trees and shrubs, generally speaking, deciduous ones will perform better after being planted in the fall than most evergreens because they can handle cooler soil temperature. A solid rule of thumb is that as long as trees in your area have maintained their leaves, it is safe to plant. But what to plant? With so many different options of gorgeous trees and shrubs to choose from, it can be difficult to know which plant is best suited for each site. River birches bring a beautiful growth pattern and fall color to a landscape while also serving as a sponge for excess water nearby that could cause long-term property damage. White pines with their evergreen needles can offer year-round color and privacy while also blocking your home from cold, winter winds that raise energy costs. No matter the specific needs of your property, there is a plant that can help!

The Tactical Land Care team is ready to help you improve your property for fall. Our staff has years of combined horticultural and construction experience that allows us to best understand the needs your property has this fall to help it through winter and shine in the spring. We are here to help you make informed, tactical decisions that will keep your landscape beautiful and sustainable. Call us today at (860) 469-5296 to show your property, community, and planet a little TLC!