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Fall planting

  • Subject: Fall planting
  • From: Chick <chick@bridgewoodgardens.com>
  • Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 11:20:23 -0400
  • R0c0ed: (from majordomo@localhost) by lorien.mallorn.com (8.11.7/8.11.7) id i8NFKXc04500; Thu, 23 Sep 2004 10:20:33 -0500

I always get a few questions this time of year about how late you can plant hostas. I usually give some standard advice about a month before the first hard freeze or whatever, but it occurs to me that I don't know why there should be any reason not to plant as late as you want.

With our plants anyway, which are all grown and shipped in containers, and if we don't sell them, survive perfectly well sitting in pots all winter in frames, why do they need time to adjust to planting before winter? They're essentially dormant, or will be before they can do much in their new site anyway, so what's the danger in planting them the day before the ground freezes? It seems to me that any changes involved in going from pot to ground are all to the plants benefit, assuming that they are planted in well drained soil - more insulation for the roots, less variation in moisture level, and there is probably less freezing and thawing below the soil level than there is in pots. Since we have very few losses in pots over winter, which seems like a much harsher environment, why would it be risky to plant late?

I suspect that the vast majority of losses over winter are caused by voles or poor drainage leading to crown rot. Seems to me that would be just as big a problem the second winter as the first, so what difference does planting time really make?

Comments and opinions are invited.


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