"Fall is for Planting" is a quote you here from many landscapers and nurseries. Many landscape plants, bulbs and especially hostas can be divided and planted most successfully in October and November. The reason is that the timing is perfect for soil conditions that demonstrate ideal moisture and temperature. These most sought after conditions make it easy for microbiology to grow and release fertility which in turn encourages rapid root growth and establishment. This is typically the case in the autumn season. Occasionally however, extremes occur in weather patterns that give home gardeners and landscapers fits, making it nearly impossible for transplants to make it through the winter.
What are the extremes? First, cold and wet conditions; second, any combination of temperatures with extremely dry conditions. How do you deal with the fallout left behind by these conditions? This is where a good understanding of soil, air and water management and their manipulation can make all the difference. Because when the soil can't work in conjunction with the plant, you have to take over for both until conditions return to normal - whatever that may be!
Air-water management is what gives your plant its ability to grow and yield. That's because not only does the plant need air and water, so does the biology in the soil that releases nutrition to the plant from the soil particles. If you have a soil that is droughty or dry by nature, calcium is a very good product to spread on or in the soil. You can, however, overdo it. Applying too much calcium can upset the pH and cause nutrient tie up. A general understanding of soil pH is a good idea if you plan to be using limestone as a calcium source. We won't cover that now. Gypsum, however, is calcium sulfate and does not alter the pH dramatically. It also gives the soil sulfur to help it be more competitive for soil release and biological development and helps the soil drain far better. Sulfur helps build proteins in biology and plants and helps give outstanding root and shoot growth as well as deep green color. It's also a flavor element for fruits and veggies.
In addition, the use of biostimulants will help plants grow roots more successfully and help them reach out far away from the original root ball or root mass, nearly guaranteeing successful transplanting. Transplant shock, or a lack of developing root growth that ultimately dries out the plant, is the number one reason why all plantings fail. That and drowning! If you can put products that contain fermentation by-products or some gibberellic acids that promote root growth in your transplant holes, you will find yourself more successful - even under dryer conditions.
Some biostimulants today carry microbes that are designed to dramatically improve plant health. If you get those simultaneously, that's a huge bonus. Biological growth in soils makes compounds that tend to naturally hold water and improve both water and nutrient up take. So anything that encourages biology to work is a plus for both your soil and your plant.
Finally, if the soil is too dry or too wet, a little nutrition is helpful for plant root growth. Products that contain sugars or carbohydrates and small amounts of nitrogen and moderate amounts of phosphates are what you are looking for. Getting them all together is the smartest play. Dilute them nicely and either foliar feed them or put them into transplant water for the best return on investment. Combine all these suggestions and you should have no problem beating the weather in any fall.
Garden Vigor provides products which cover all these needs in your soil. For more information on a specific plant/soil need mentioned in this article, click on the links below.
Fermented, sugars, carbohydrates biostimulant product: MaxGrowMicrobes: VermActant
For more information or to ask our agronomist questions regarding your planting challenges, Contact Us.