Spring is often considered the best time to plant. The snow is melting, there is plentiful rain, and more sun. However, the list of benefits for fall planting is quite extensive and it’s a great opportunity to establish native habitat before the snow flies. Encouraging a diverse habitat in your own backyard is a fantastic way to balance out the negative effects of invasive plant species in northwest Michigan!
Why fall is a great time for planting natives
The window for spring planting is relatively small, and trying to gauge how long you have between the last frost and the summer heat can be tricky. In the fall, there is much more opportunity for getting plants in the ground. Planting 6-8 weeks before the first anticipated hard frost allows for plenty of establishment time. Soil still holds warmth from the summer months and root growth is encouraged until the ground freezes. Freshly planted natives are also less likely to be impacted by intense heat and drought – a risk accompanied with planting in the spring.
Preparing a site for fall planting – tips for success!
What to plant for spring color
There are a variety of options for you to choose from if you want a vibrant garden in the spring! Blue-flag iris, common spiderwort, wild columbine, dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, baneberry, serviceberry, basswood, and bloodroot are all excellent options. For a more extensive list specific to your yard type and region, visit the Michigan Native Plants Database.
Many nurseries participate in ISN’s Go Beyond Beauty program which encourages the use of native plants and the removal of invasive species from their stock. They are all great options when purchasing plants for your garden! Check out our webpage for a complete list of participants and locations! As an added bonus, many nurseries mark their perennials and shrubs down significantly in the fall, making late season planting an economical choice as well!
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