Although planting shrubs in the spring is common practice, knowledgeable gardeners and landscapers prefer to plant in the fall. Keep reading to find out why fall is the best time to start your planting project.

Planting in the Fall Reduces Stress on Plants

Transplanting causes stress as plants are removed from containers, balls, or established locations and changed to new locations. Planting in the fall, when a plant is entering dormancy and is generally hardier and sturdier, reduces this stress so the plant can thrive next summer.

Planting in the Fall Establishes Strong Roots

Fall planting “establishes” trees and shrubs by encouraging root growth. Because the soil is still warm, the roots continue to develop until freezing sets in, though the upper parts of the plant are already dormant. When transplanting in the spring, developed roots are active and delicate tips or rootlets, as well as buds and new leaves, are more easily damaged.

Planting in the Fall Creates Weather Resiliency

Trees and shrubs planted in the fall are better able to withstand the rigors of the next summer’s heat and dry conditions because they have much longer to develop healthy roots systems and become thoroughly established. This is especially critical in dry climates or areas prone to drought or irregular rainfall.

Faster Maturity

The “head-start” of fall planting results in a larger plants in less time, helping create a mature landscape without waiting for smaller plants to catch up. This can be especially critical when replacing dead or damaged plants in a mature landscape to avoid a gap or uneven look.

Water Conservation

Planting in the fall saves promotes conservation by eliminating daily watering. Cooler temperatures with the addition of both morning and evening dew contributes greatly to soil moisture availability in fall without as much supplemental watering.

Color Confirmation

Fall is the best time to see a plant’s autumnal color. Planting in the fall eliminates the surprise of the wrong color or unexpected shades that may not coordinate with nearby plants. By planting in autumn, you’ll know exactly what you’re purchasing and planting, and you will be able to match better with your existing landscape.

Saving Money

It’s probably no secret that the summer months are busy for landscaping companies and things slow down a bit as temperatures cool. Take advantage of these slower periods.

Autumn can be the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs, whether you are adding to your landscape, replacing plants or starting a whole new look. If you plant in autumn, you’ll be amazed at how lovely your landscape will look when spring comes. Call or visit us at our Portland garden center to get going before frosty temperatures arrive, and be ready to enjoy your strong, established landscape next spring!

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.