Many nurseries offer discounts this time of year proclaiming that fall is a great time for planting. As long as the ground is not frozen, plants can be successfully installed and there is less stress caused to the plant by installing in the fall. This holds true for most hardy deciduous plants that lose their leaves in the winter. But we need to remember that just a few weeks or days after the plant is installed, we will deactivate our automatic sprinkler system. Often times in Colorado, we can go for significant periods of time with no natural moisture. When this occurs, water must be added in order to keep these plants alive.
Evergreens keep their leaves in the wintertime and therefore continue to use more water than a deciduous plant. Additionally, winter watering must be much more regular for a successful planting. So unless you are willing to do the extra work, you should think before planting these plants late into the year. Alpine Gardens tries to stop planting evergreens and perennials around the first of October.
Newly planted plants continue to root even though the top of the plant has gone dormant. But the new roots are not sufficient to gather needed water from a large enough area. Water has to be applied to the original root ball in order for the plant to use it.
There is still much landscape work that can be done at this time of the year. Fall is an excellent time to install patios and retaining walls as the planting season is starting to draw to a close. We recommend that some of the larger hardscape projects be done in the fall so that the yard is available for use during the prime times of the year and not bogged down in the construction process.