When is a good time to be updating your home garden or landscaping?

While summer is winding down, the growing season is far from over, and mild fall weather is a perfect opportunity to get outside and update your outdoor décor with new plants.

Beth Silla of Trees Today Nursery in La Crosse says that fall can be a popular time to plant due to the cooler weather, less humidity and the variety of plants available.

“In Wisconsin, people often clean up their gardens and landscaping in preparation for the colder months,” Silla says.

That offers the opportunity for those fall cleaners to add plants as well. For fall planters looking to add color to their yard, Silla suggests trees like maples and oaks, along with shrubs like dogwoods and even roses. Cranberrybushes are another nice addition to any outdoor landscape, adding a bright pop of red among other, less vibrant colors.

For a nice change of pace, planters may add tall grasses like Shenandoah switch grass or feather reed grass. These grasses are multi-colored and very reliable, making them a popular pick for gardens and landscapes.

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Plant trees, renew lawns

Milder temperatures and consistent rainfall make late summer and early fall great times to plant trees. However, avoid planting evergreen shrubs and trees any later than early fall — not allowing them sufficient time to establish roots can contribute to winter burn.

In general, allow at least six weeks before the ground freezes for plants to establish roots. During that time, make sure you’re watering sufficiently. Mulching also helps insulate new plants and encourage root development even as colder temperatures begin to set in.

If your hostas are getting crowded, fall is a great time to divide and replant them. They fare best when replanted in cool, moist weather. To divide, dig in a circle around your hosta clump, then lever the whole thing out of the ground. Carefully pull or cut crowns away from the mother plant, taking care to preserve as much of the rootball as possible.

According to UW-Extension, mid-August to mid-September is also the best time to establish or renovate a lawn in this area — so there’s still time left! Figuring out whether to seed or to sod, or what grass varieties are best-suited to your lawn’s moisture, soil type and sun exposure can be complicated, so it’s worth having a soil analysis done and/or consulting an expert.

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