Spring vs. Fall planting

jenn(SoCal 9/19)April 15, 2011

My mom (who lives in Glendale) is consulting with a landscape designer/horticulturist to re-landscape her backyard swimming pool and the yard beyond. The landscaper said they could begin work very soon this spring. I suggested waiting until later in Fall, but my mom mentioned the Santa Ana winds blow at that time of year. I pointed out she will use a lot more water irrigating the new plants during the hot summer than if she waits until Fall. She has loose sandy soil.

I thought I'd ask you for your advice with respect to spring vs. fall planting esp. in areas with hot summers. I want to give her some guidance without confusing her with too many details. She's 80 and has been gardening for years but isn't the research hound that I am -- she finds a plant she likes and sticks it in the ground with some amendment and things usually work out, LOL.

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loribee2(CA 9)

I've planted things year-round, but I do agree with you that in general, fall is the best season to plant. Not only for the water issues you mentioned, but it gives the root systems time to establish before the plants have to put their energy into blooming and/or leafing.

Here is a link that might be useful: loribees garden blog

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:59PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

We get terrible terrible Santa Ana winds in this area. It's kind of a gamble between spring vs. fall planting. The fall seems to work better except the years when the winds are really really bad and winter rain was poor. This fall just past we had far less wind events than usual, and steady winter rain, so planting was great.

Overall I would say fall has been superior, except those years of exceptionally bad Santa Anas/drought.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 3:01PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you.

Hoov, your post causes me to lean towards Spring planting in this case. If the work is done in Fall and she gets some bad winds at that time, she will be very worried and anxious about the brand-new plants -- something she does not need. Given the choice, I think she'd rather pay the $ for extra irrigation than deal with the winds.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 3:11PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I have to agree with Hoovb on this. Normally I'd say Fall, but Glendale has to deal with some potentially wicked Santa Anas that come blasting through the canyons. Where I am in Vista, we're somewhat protected, and don't get super high Santa Ana winds quite as badly as up in the Glendale/Pasadena area, or even south of us in the Poway area. I would opt for as early in the Spring as possible. It's a juggling act - avoiding odd late cold dips (we had a night that made it down to 29 degrees last week which was an anomoly) and the hot, dry, damaging Santa Anas in the Fall.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 6:36PM
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I would go with fall any year. It is windy here alot in the Santa Clarita valley during summer and the 100+ temps no amount of water is enough. I know from living in Glendale it's almost as bad. The nights are much cooler in Oct-Nov and the soil is getting cooler also instead of heating up and using more water.

The contractor in this economy of course wants the work so of course is going to advise do it now...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 7:06PM
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Do you know what kind of landscaping is being installed? Nothing is drought tolerant until it's established, of course, but choosing spring vs. fall might be easier if you know what is being planted.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:49AM
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