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Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees. Autumn weather is cool, making gardening easier on us. In Fall, rain is more dependable, making planting easier on both the plant and the gardener. Here in Georgia, daytime temperatures can still be hot, but our nights are cooler. 

Fall is the best time to plant Azaleas, Blueberries, and Hydrangeas. This time of year just brings better weather for shrubs to establish themselves without having to fight for their lives! 

So if you dream of a garden as beautiful as that shown in the photo above, do yourself and your plants a favor and plant them now, instead of waiting until spring. If your dream includes eating tasty blueberries from your own garden, plant those now too! 

Since we are receiving more regular rainfall, you won't have to water as often, but you should water your newly planted trees and shrubs anytime it hasn't rained that week, especially as long as days continue to be hot and sunny. 

Shrubs planted in fall will have a head start over spring planted ones, and will have a greater chance of survival during our heat wave next summer. Even though the top growth of the plant will be dormant and might not even have any leaves, the roots will continue to grow through the winter. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having!

To order unusual shrubs and trees for fall planting, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

Plant Azaleas in Fall instead of Spring!


Rhododenderon Canescens, Piedmont Azalea
Native Azaleas are definitely a spectacular show in Spring, but don't wait till Spring to plant them! Shrubs planted in Fall have a much better chance to get established and become healthy plants by next summer. 

The American Native Azaleas, species Rhododendrons, are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves for the winter. This defoliation begins quite early in fall, depending on the climate conditions and the variety. Usually the earlier the bloom time in spring, the earlier leaf loss occurs in Fall.  

Fall is the best time to transplant shrubs because they are then dormant. Fall planted shrubs have all winter to become established before time to bloom and grow next year. This is especially important when your plants are received by mail, as is most often true with rare plants like native azaleas.

When planting native azaleas, soil preparation is key. All azaleas prefer well-drained soil. Amend the soil for drainage, especially if your soil is clay.  Prior to planting your native azalea, work in some compost or composted manure and shredded bark to the planting hole. To help insure good drainage, mound up the soil so your azalea is planted high. Be sure that the root collar is slightly higher than soil level so water will drain away when those heavy downpours occur.
 
When planning your native azalea garden, consider the site. Native azaleas naturally occur in the filtered light beneath large trees near stream banks, but will grow in full sun when water is adequate.  They perhaps will bloom more profusely in full sun, but need more water with more sun. 

Make sure you can get water to the plant if drought occurs. Native azaleas are quite drought tolerant once established, however, water weekly the first year or two, as the plant grows in to its new environment.  Also, the blooms buds are formed during late summer on the early blooming varieties, and if your area is prone to a late summer-early fall drought, pay attention to those weekly waterings, so you won’t miss out on your fragrant Spring blooms! 

Finally, obtain some good organic mulch. Azaleas have a shallow root system. Apply a thick layer of any organic mulch such as shredded bark, leaves, or pine straw to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Never cultivate around your native azaleas, since this can damage those shallow roots. 
Once planted, your native azaleas will need water at least once weekly to insure good root development and beautiful blooms for years to come. 

For more information on the beautiful and fragrant native azaleas, visit us at Shady Gardens Nursery.