A Complete Guide on Planting Trees & Shrubs in Autumn
People are always excited about the best parts of the fall season: the fashion, the color-changing leaves, the cooler temperature, and the pumpkin spice. However, at Southern Botanical, we are especially hyped about the gorgeous assortment of fall plants.
Texas is particularly blessed with mild autumns and winters. This means that the fall season is the perfect time to plant just about anything in Texas, which isn’t the same for our neighbors up North. In fact, a lot of Texas residents, refer to this time of the year as the ‘forgotten spring.’ Yes, there is no better time for the great outdoors!
Planting trees & shrubs in autumn will help beautify your Dallas landscaping during the most pleasant temperatures of the year, but that’s not the only reason to do it. With cooler air and better soil conditions, it also provides the ideal environment for your new plants to thrive.
Keep reading to learn more about why this season is best for planting and discover our recommendations for the best trees and shrubs to plant in autumn.
Why Plant Flowers, Trees, & Shrubs in Autumn?
A lot of people think that spring is the best time for planting. After all, spring is when dormant plants come back to life, bringing more life, color, and vibrancy to the landscape.
However, when it comes to establishing new plants in your lawn, the optimal time to do it is actually during the fall. With cooler temperatures and other favorable growing conditions, planting your flowers, trees & shrubs in autumn gives them everything they need to become healthy and established come spring.
The summer season has been rough on a lot of plants. The soil in Texas doesn’t freeze like the northern soil, so planting during the fall season will give the perfect opportunity for your plants to establish a good root system, grow, thrive, and survive before summer comes. This will also help your plants survive long summer droughts fairly well.
Dallas heat can be extremely intense, especially during the hottest months of summer. Just like people, plants can also get stressed out by the heat. Exposure to prolonged hot temperatures will inhibit your plants’ ability to grow.
During the cooler temperatures of autumn, plants are significantly less stressed by the heat. This provides the perfect opportunity to plant new trees & shrubs in autumn, as the roots will have ideal conditions to start acclimating to the soil. With less stressful environmental conditions, you’ll be taking full advantage of the plant’s opportune period of growth.
Greater Water Availability
The excessive heat in the summertime causes water to evaporate quickly from the soil, resulting in dry conditions for plants. Even following a rainfall, the soil can dry up within hours and become too dry to provide the water that your plants need to grow.
With the combination of cooler temperatures and higher average rainfall, autumn provides the highest water availability for plants. This is because the cooler soil is better equipped to retain moisture, helping that water continue to nourish the plants.
More Established Root Systems
Planting flowers, trees, & shrubs in autumn gives them plenty of time to develop roots. This also helps them establish and expand their root systems. They continue to grow during the mild winter season, which prepares them for a healthy spring.
Hot, humid summers in Texas provide the perfect breeding ground for pests that can harm your Dallas landscaping. As temperatures drop when autumn comes around, many of these pests will die out or prepare for hibernation. By planting your flowers, trees, & shrubs in autumn, you’ll have fewer pests to worry about when you’re trying to establish healthy plants.
Preparing for a Healthy Spring
By planting your flowers, trees, & shrubs in autumn when growth conditions are optimal, you’re helping prepare them for not just a healthy fall, but a healthy spring as well. With fully established root systems, planting your landscaping in the fall prepares it for a healthy, lively, and vibrant spring.
What to Plant in Your Dallas Landscaping During the Fall
While fall is the best time in general for planting a wide variety of Dallas landscaping plants, the growth requirements of individual plants make them more suited for specific months. Depending on what you’d like to plant, you should schedule your fall landscaping services according to the ideal months for growth.
Below are some ideas for plants in the fall and the best months to get them planted. You can also consult your landscaping experts at Southern Botanical to help you plan for the best time to bring your fall landscape to life.
Planting Trees & Shrubs in Autumn
Fall is the prime time of year in Texas to get your trees and shrubs planted. When it comes to these types of plants, early fall planting is ideal in order to give their roots time to acclimate.
Here are some of the best trees to plant in autumn:
- Bur Oak – deciduous, drought-tolerant, roughly-textured leaves, acorns
- Chinkapin Oak – deciduous, great for shady areas
- Cedar Elm – deciduous, drought-tolerant, shade-loving, adaptable
- Italian Stone Pine – evergreen, grows “pine nuts”
- Royal Empress – deciduous, heart-shaped leaves, fragrant blooms
- Mimosa Tree – deciduous, flowers, attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies
These are some popular shrubs to plant in autumn:
- Butterfly Bush – purple, flowering, requires full sun
- Elderberry – flowering, deep burgundy fruit, full sun to partial shade
- Hydrangea – flowering, multi-flower blossoms, full to partial sun or shade
- Magnolia – flowering, brilliant and fragrant, perfect for full sun to partial shade
When you’re bringing in new balled or wrapped trees and shrubs, roots need time to recover from the transplant and establish a new, healthy root system. By getting these planted in the early autumn (late September through October), you’ll be giving them ample time to grow healthy roots for spring.
Perennial plants complete a growth cycle throughout the season. When that cycle completes, they become dormant, only to return during their regular growth months. This category houses a number of vibrant plants in all colors and sizes, perfect for accenting your tree & shrubs in Autumn as well as your other landscaping.
Here are a few colorful spring-blooming perennials to consider for your landscape:
- Tulips – cup-shaped flowers, bright colors
- Daffodils (Narcissus) – trumpet-shaped flowers, cheerful colors
- Hyacinths – fragrant, long and bulbous flowers, soft colors
- Irises – large-petaled flowers, tall, thick stems, beautiful fragrance
- Day lilies – brilliant colors, low maintenance, long-blooming, vibrant
These beautiful plants add color to your Dallas landscaping and are well worth their limited blooming period. As they pass into dormancy, you can break up the empty gaps with evergreen shrubs and other plants that are designed to outlast the dormant season.
Winter Annual Flowers
Unlike perennials, annuals will bloom for longer periods of time. However, as they complete their life cycle, they will need to be replanted the following year in order to grow again.
Here are some excellent winter annual flower choices for Dallas landscaping:
- Pansies – large multi-colored flowers, yellows, purples, blues
- Dianthus – smaller flowers, pinks, magentas, whites
- Mums – smaller flowers, brilliant sunburst colors like reds, oranges, and yellows
- Fall daisies – classic flower, whites, pinks, oranges
- Snapdragons – unique “dragon mouth” shape, brilliant colors like purples, yellows, and whites
Because they like cooler temperatures, the best time to plant your winter annuals is during October, when temperatures start to cool off.
Ornamental Cabbage & Kale
Ornamental cabbage and kale are cool-season annuals that bring color to your landscaping. Leafy blossoms of white, green, purple, or grey last throughout the winter months. During the spring, they sprout brilliant yellow flowers, adding even more vibrancy and visual interest to the garden or landscaping.
Although ornamental cabbage and kale blooms in the spring, these plants have low heat tolerance in the summer. Because of this, the ideal time to plant is during November. This allows them to grow in the fall, thrive in the winter, and prepare for a brilliant spring.
When you’re planning out trees & shrubs in autumn landscaping, another important point to consider is the grass you’d like to plant. Because the temperatures vary considerably throughout Texas, both warm-season and cool-season grasses thrive in different regions.
Since temperatures are lower, Northern parts of Texas like Dallas are more suited for cool-season grasses. These grow well in either the spring or the fall, so it’s a good idea to get your planting done in early October just as the temperatures begin to cool down.
Here are some good choices for cool-season grass in Dallas:
- Ryegrass – good for cooler months in Texas
- Tall Fescue – specific to North Texas, is adapted for a wide range of soils
- Kentucky Bluegrass -popular throughout Texas, requires irrigation, great for full sun
- Texas Bluegrass -looks similar to Kentucky bluegrass, but has a greater tolerance for intense sun, stays greener, and requires less irrigation
Cool-season grasses are specifically adapted for the Northern region of Texas. They like cooler temperatures, so the ideal time to plant is just as the temperatures start to drop in October.
Bring Your Fall Landscape to Life
Spring might have the reputation for being the best time of year to start planting, but fall is actually the optimal time to do it. Many Dallas landscaping plants thrive just as the weather begins to cool, growing strong to last throughout the mild winter conditions into a healthy spring. If you’re looking for healthy, vibrant landscaping, planting your flowers, planting trees & shrubs in autumn is sure to deliver beautiful results.