Late season planting - again

janetpetiole(4b)August 19, 2007

I asked a similar question last year. I didn't get a lot of responses so I am asking again. I'm hoping to hear from more of you, even for those of you who haven't participated much in the forum. Speaking of that, it would be great if more people became involved in the forum. It is so cool to have a Wisconsin forum, and I'm really interesting in hearing from all of you. I'm sure I an not the only one here who feels that way. So don't be shy, were all just family here :-)

Back to my problem. I've always preferred planting in spring because I never had much success in fall even though I've heard and read many time that fall is a great time to plant.

I read something on a different forum that made me wonder if it was the hole preparation more than anything else. I used to mix a lot of compost into the planting hole, but this spring I realized that most of what I planted the previous year had sunk into the soil.

If I decide to plant this fall, I won't use compost, only top dress with ground-up leaves (as always). So...

There are several big things I want to accomplish before winter, but I am nervous about doing it now.

A crab apple that was planted this spring needs to be moved, as well as some shrubs including a few that have been in the ground for 3 years. I also want to completely redo the shade bed, which has hosta and other perennials.

If it were your garden, would you move the trees, shrubs and perennials?

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I like moving perennials in the fall. That way I can see how big they are and where they should go easier than in the spring. I did lose one of the shasta daisies I moved last fall but I think it was the spring freeze that did it in. I'm planning on moving a few things once it dries out a bit. But I don't have a lot of experience since I've only been gardening for about two years now.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 2:10PM
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I miss those early years - when I did what I felt like doing and didn't over-think anything. lol
Thanks for replying.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 2:34PM
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I've moved some plants in early Sept. and never had a problem. Some were large ones and those were the hardiest to move. I tried to make sure I got as much of the roots as I could. I've always added bagged cow manure when I plant anything. I mix it in with the soil that's already there. I also gently, but firmly push the plants down after I get them planted to make sure there aren't any air pockets and they're sitting right in the ground. For your crab apple tree and shrubs, just try to get as much of the root ball as possible. Keep them watered. They may lose some leaves from the shock of moving, but as long as they're watered they should do ok.
Good luck on your projects!


    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 4:02PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

My yard was planted (by a landscaper) in Sept of 98. Everthing looked ridiculously high above ground, but all the trees and shrubs survived and thrived with 2 exceptions. Those two were Amur maple and paper birch. I've since read that both those should be only spring planted. All the trees and shrubs were B&B or potted, all were put on lot line berms of trucked in soil, planted very high and had a ton of mulch put on. No soil amendments, no fertilizer, no cutting back. The amur and birch are fine now, but were very slow compared to the rest. As far as moving stuff this time of year, why not?
If you're careful and make the holes very wide and shallow, you should do well. Its not like they will be stressed to put out new growth like in Spring. Dont worry if they go shockey and lose leaves. And dont fertilize! I watered all this plant life until a Dec hard freeze.

I am going to try planting perennials for the first time in the fall. I'm told it can be successfully done. Lets keep each other informed, and check back next Spring.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 9:58PM
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aka_margo(z5a WI)

Last year I planted a ton of perennials in the late fall, especially hostas (big surprise). I had gotten a deal on them so I figured if some didn't come back it wasn't a big loss. The person at the nursery told me to use a root stimulator when planting them. I only lost one out of the probably 40 plants, and it was an 'oranges and lemons' gaillardia. I never have success with gaillardia. I also have to move a bunch of plants this fall. I am redoing one of my hosta beds, and not looking forward to it at all.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 10:54PM
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I believe the general rule is to plant (or transplant) perennials about 6 weeks before your average last frost date is in your zone, to give the roots time to settle in and establish themselves.

Not sure about trees and shrubs, but I've seen landscape companies plant shrubs and trees (that were in containers) in the ground any time the ground can be worked - at least in zone 5. I guess once a shrub/tree has gone dormant, it doesn't matter when you plant it. Maybe someone who's an expert on trees/shrubs can add their input.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 4:55PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Perennials can be moved safely as Julie said, some can even be moved as long as the ground isn't frozen. The deeper the root system, the later you can move them (generally speaking). As for deciduous trees and shrubs, I'd wait until the leaves drop before digging them up. Dig the new hole in a shallow dish shape no deeper than the root ball, maybe even slightly shallower. Make sure you can see where the root flare is and be sure to keep it above ground level
and water it in well.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 7:36PM
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Bob_Zn5(Z5 WI)

"If it were your garden, would you move the trees, shrubs and perennials?"
Absolutely. Yes yes & yes.
& I see no reason not to ammend the soil, just plant a bit high so when everything settles, the shrub/ tree is at about the right height. I do it all the time & have a pretty good success rate.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 11:14PM
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I had a few plants that I moved this year because they weren't flourishing. I dug them up and planted them in planters, and kept them in a more sheltered location while I debated where I would put them. I finally decided and planted them within the last couple of weeks, after our last heat wave, and when it was starting to get a little bit chillier. They look much better than some of the items I've tried planted in late spring. I'm not so afraid to do more in the fall than just cleanup and mulch.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 10:33PM
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Thank you for all your responses. I decided I'm just going to move what I can, and if I lose stuff, oh well. After all, they are just plants that can be replaced.

Pondy, it will be interesting. I will keep notes and report in spring.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 10:17AM
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