Did you know that October is actually the ideal month for planting many of the flowers and shrubs that make our yards look so colorful in the spring? Roots grow best when the soil is warm, between 55 and 75 degrees, so in the spring, soil is often still too cool to promote root growth before the long dry summer takes hold. A fall-installed tree, shrub or perennial receives several weeks of soil temperatures perfect for allowing their roots to take hold before winter.
As a bonus, nurseries put many of their plants on sale this time of year, often for as much as half off, as they make room for Christmas trees and other seasonal inventory. Some of the plants you find on sale may look a little worn from the long sunny summer spent on display, but they will be heartier and stronger than the same shrubs and trees purchased at the beginning of the season, and will make up for their diminished appearance now, when next spring rolls around.
Go for the Grass
Plan and work now for the perfect lush lawn come springtime! Now is the time to extend your yard or patch areas that need some additional help. Whether you are sprinkling seeds or laying down sod, plan to do this about 45 days before the first frost is expected in your area. This will allow plenty of time for roots to take hold before the soil temperatures dip below 40 degrees. Kentucky bluegrass and fescue are the grasses that will grow most vigorously during the cooler fall and winter months. When is the first frost expected in Atlanta? On average we hit this planting milestone around November 13th.
Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere
Pansies and violas are some of the most popular flowers in Georgia, and for good reason! Plant them in the fall and you will often have blooms until December. The color will fade as the temperatures drop, but those eye-catching blooms will return again around March or April. Both flowers come in a variety of colors and thrive in soft soil that is approximately 75% local and 25% compost. Snapdragons and mums are other great fall flowers to plant, as they will often bloom throughout the winter.
Plant Your Veggies!
If you enjoy a few fresh, home-grown veggies in addition to your landscaping flowers and shrubs, now is a great time to plant some late fall and winter vegetables to enjoy as the harvest season winds down. Greens such as spinach, lettuce, collards and kale are perfect cold season veggies to enjoy in salads and sides. Carrots, broccoli and onions also grow great when planted in October.