We all know that roses bloom best in May and take a little bit of a beating in July and August; but did you know they have plenty of blooms left for September and October, maybe even into November. But can you plant roses in the Fall? Many gardeners think it is the best time to plant, here are the reasons why:
1. Cooler Air: It’s less work. The ground is completely thawed, the nights are getting cooler making it a lovely time to get into the garden and dig. The cooler air temperatures during the day mean less heat stress and lower likelihood of transplant shock. Plants respond to the cooler temperature by reducing new shoots and slowing top growth. This allows them to focus most of their energy on root development. Their roots will continue to grow until the ground freezes meaning you will have a stronger healthier plant that is ready to pump out flowers as soon as Spring begins! The coming of winter also means it’s the plant’s last chance to reproduce, and plants really like to reproduce. This means producing more flowers, adding some late season color when many of your plants are starting to slow down.
2. Warmer Soil: The soil cools down much slower than the air, so roots continue to grow. More roots means more shoots. Play chess not checkers. Think a few moves ahead get and those roots established and ready to perform for spring. Spring plantings often take a couple of months to adjust to new conditions and start flowering. Plus, you risk running into a heatwave which can cause transplant shock. An undeveloped root system will have a hard time supporting top growth if you run into a heatwave like the Summer of 22’. So get those plants in the ground now and have them ready to go for spring!
3. More Rain, less water requirements: Typically there is more precipitation in the fall. I hesitate to make weather predictions, but it couldn’t rain any less than it did this summer. Regardless of precipitation, water demands will be less without the blistering summer heat. Plants don’t just need water to stay hydrated, they need it to perform photosynthesis. They need those hydrogen molecules from water, H2O, to create carbohydrates, CH2O. In sweltering summer heat it can sometimes be difficult to meet all of the plants necessary life functions and still have water remaining to produce the carbohydrates necessary to produce fruits and flowers.
4. Fewer Insects: Insects don’t like the cold. My good friends the bees, spiders and praying mantis will all die or go into hibernation soon. Even the lovely Monarchs are heading south for the winter. This also means fewer insect pests out there to attack your new plantings. Pest insects can ravage new plantings. Those pesky Japanese beetles can devour a rose a plant in June. New plantings with undeveloped root systems have a tougher time weathering these attacks than plants with established root systems. Are you sensing a theme yet?
STRONGER ROOTS MEAN STRONGER SHOOTS. Sometimes perennial plants can take up to three years to reach peak flower production. Perennials are a long term investment; you’re buying a mutual fund, not digital currency. Perennials bloom sooner, brighter, stronger and longer every year. Don’t waste time getting them established. Enjoy the crisp fall weather, get out there, add some vibrant color to your autumn landscape and give your roses a head start on life.
"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now” ~Chinese Proverb