Fall has arrived in Maine, and it’s the time of the year to see leaves change color and the temperatures cool down. The heat of summer has gone, the boat has been put away and you may be enjoying your fire pit a little more. Fall is a great time for planting as well as planning for next year. Whether you’re planting new shrubbery, perennials that come to life in the spring, or a winter garden, it’s time to start your fall landscaping—now.
Start With A Plan
If you’ve never planned a landscape before, The University of Maine’s Extension Service has a step-by-step guide to help you get started. You’ll learn how to plot and analyze your property and document your space’s use to design a landscape that works for you. From proper plants for Maine to water-saving designs, start by optimizing your space before you dig and buy plants. The Extension’s website with all of their information and publications is available here, and gardening-specific information. Need some inspiration? Check out some of our landscape work to see what your yard could look like in the spring if you start preparing now.
Trees, Shrubs And Other Foliage
Planting these now allows them time to develop a root system before winter. Native trees and shrubs are best for surviving a cold winter and resuming growth in the spring.
Although the temptation is to choose so-called “native” plants, some may not do as well as many “imported” plants. Choose the best plant for a specific location.
Plant no deeper than the height and width of the root ball to ensure maximum space for the root system to take hold. Remove any coverings on the root bulbs before planting. Once it’s in the ground, add mulch around the root area to protect it through the winter months.
Although they don’t look as nice as they did a couple of months ago, perennials will grow back and become more colorful next year. It may be too late to plant new ones, but you can add perennials to pots and plant them in the ground in the spring (or if you can’t decide where you want to put them yet.) Consider Hostas, Calendulas, Peonies, and other bulb-based plants into your fall landscaping plan.
If you’re still dreaming about the delicious harvest of tomatoes, eggplant, and other vegetables from your summer harvest, keep your garden going with plants and herbs that will do well over the winter.
· Garlic—plant this now, since it needs to “overwinter” to grow in spring. Plant cloves separately, and be patient. When spring arrives, the cloves will sprout green scapes that can be used just like garlic. Seed Savers Exchange’s guide to growing garlic.
· Parsley, Sage, Rosemary—these herbs love the winter and thrive in cold weather. So do lavender, lemon balm, wild strawberry, mint, and fennel. (Thyme is a perennial, and may just overwinter like garlic.)
Although it’s a great time to plant, don’t fertilize anything. Your plants will quickly develop tender new growth that will be killed by the upcoming frost. You can find a complete list of year-round vegetables for your garden at UMaine’s Extension. The Plant Hardiness Zone map for Maine is available here.
Summer may be over, but fall and winter are a great time to update your landscape for fall and winter. Start your fall landscaping right now, and your landscaping will be even more attractive next spring.