A few days ago, I stepped outside to experience a cooler morning. The air felt clean — fall was in the air. To those of us who love nature, that annual experience isn’t defined by the calendar, it’s a feeling. Oh, how I love it!
Fall is my personal favorite time of year. Here at the nursery, budding time is concluding, apples are ripening and the tree harvest is just around the corner. Everything here at Stark Bro’s is nearing fruition. In football terms, we’re on the 10-yard line! And, because we grow our own trees, they are available to you for fall planting.
One reason is that roots are able to settle in, gain some establishment, and wake up with nature the next spring. This approach can often lead to earlier fruiting and larger yields. Another reason for fall planting is transpiration. When plants are too far advanced, or they’re placed in an environment that is too warm, they give off moisture. This can threaten the plant’s existence or impair its performance. In any event, it increases its need for water. My favorite time to plant is fall or early spring, to reduce the plant’s need for water. This practice works best for both me (growing millions of trees) and you (planting trees in your backyard).
For the individual in upper Zone 5, my advice is: don’t be afraid to plant most varieties of apples (e.g. Honeycrisp™, Starkspur® UltraMac™, Cortland Apple), Zone 4 plums (such as the Bubblegum Plum® and Superior Plum) or nuts (like the Stark® Kwik-Krop® Walnut) in the fall. Be sure, however, to mulch adequately to prevent frost heaving. You growers in Zones 6 and south have a huge opportunity by choosing to fall plant. If you choose to take advantage of fall planting, please make sure you put tree guards on your trees to avoid depredation. Trees are most vulnerable to this problem in the fall and winter.
Here at Stark Bro’s, we want to give you, the grower, every advantage to succeed. Having plants available in the fall is just one of them. Hope you’re enjoying these beautiful fall days as much as we are!