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Big Benefit to Planting in Autumn

This article was first published on 22 May 2013.

Benefits to planting at this time of the year

Benefits to planting at this time of the year

Yippee it’s raining

We have had some wet weather over the last few weeks, which beach lovers hate but gardeners have been praying for since Christmas. Now we can plant all those plants we have had sitting in pots, without the hassle of having to water them every few days.

Cool above but warm below

Autumn is a great time to plant as there is still some warmth in the soil to help encourage root growth and the weather is more favourable for establishment. This year autumn planting has been held off until slightly later due to the unusual dry weather we have experienced but it is still not too late. The last spells of rain have now put enough moisture in to the ground so as not to be planting in a dust bowl.

Small can be better

Most of the plants that I choose are small as these seem to establish quicker and adapt to their new environment. This is particularly true with trees as small trees often have great vigour, whereas larger trees take a long time to establish.  If purchasing plants, small is good as they are cheaper.  However, you do need to make sure you remember where they are and they do not get swamped by weeds or surrounding plants.

The great thing about planting small plants is the hole that you need to dig is much smaller and quicker and there is less chance of disturbing nearby plants. I will be madly planting over the next couple of weeks before the cold of winter sets in.

Dylan Norfield is Collection Curator of the Geographic Collection and Arboretum at Dunedin Botanic Garden.