Fall Planting In Oklahoma

Fall is for planting!  This is an Oklahoma gardener’s battle cry I have heard since I was a young boy.  Others call it the second planting season.  Spring is unquestionably the largest planting season in our part of the country but fall is also an excellent planting season and is arguably the best planting season for many crops.  Many nurserymen and arborists argue that fall is the best time to plant container grown, balled and burlapped (B&B) or Root Control bag grown trees and shrubs.  Fall planting allows trees to get established and get down young roots in their new home before facing the windy, drying blow torch of an Oklahoma summer.  This can be especially true of plantings near concrete or blacktop where the heat is magnified.  Select the spots in your yard or on your property where you want to add trees or shrubs.  Then think about the size of the tree you want when they are mature or full grown.  Notice whether you have sandy or clay soil, whether you want to plant in the open, between other trees or on what side of your home or building.  With this information your local nurseryman can help you select the right trees or shrubs for your application. You may want a tree with fall color, a flowering tree or a fruit tree.  You may already know you want an oak, a maple or another type of tree and just need help selecting the best variety for your location.  A big part of success with your tree planting is based on proper soil preparation and planting.  I’ve had my best success when I dig the hole about twice as big around as needed and half again as deep as needed.  I recommend adding one third sphagnum peat moss or another good organic material to the soil you removed from the hole and back filling the improved soil into the hole.  Remove your tree or shrub from its container being careful not to break the root ball during transplanting.  Set the tree in the hole, backfill with the improved soil and water thoroughly.  Stake your new tree, if needed, to stabilize the tree upright.  Fall planting gives new trees and shrubs a great chance at success as long as you are faithful in watering, when needed, this fall and winter. 

The football season is in full gear so it reminds us we are in the heart of the fall mum planting season.  This is a great time to visit your local nursery and buy hardy mums, hardy asters and other fall color plants to spice up your landscape.  Hardy mums are perennials and will come back year after year and come into bloom naturally as the days get shorter.  Hardy mums come in white, pinks, purple and the great fall colors of yellow, orange, red and bronze.

 Fall is also the time to plant tall fescue grass seed if you want to overseed your turf to grow a green lawn to brighten up the winter and early spring.  Fall is truly for planting all the above crops and lots more.  Soon we will be talking pansies, kale, cabbage and spring flowering bulbs.  Visit your local garden center; select some living plants to add to your yard and start planting as you enjoy the cooler weather and charm of fall.

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