When Is The Best Time to Plant?

planting tree

Chances are, the reason you’re reading this article is because you’ve got some plants to get in the ground.   So here’s our quick answer –  yes, it is ok to plant right now, what ever time of year it may be. You see, we’re opportunistic around here and know that ‘when you’ve got the time’  is often the most realistic time.  It does depend on what you’re planting out though. Some things are best left planted out in the Warmer months like tropical plants such as Mango or Avocado, while other garden shrubs are ok at any time. A lot of people plant native plants in Autumn or Winter to take advantage of the months of rain before Summer. Even still, those native plants will need to be watered in the warm weather to grow and become established in the ground before they become waterwise.

What if it’s Summer?

Yes, there are more ideal times of the year to plant, than summer time, but if you’re not prepared to wait,  read on to find out how you can triumphantly complete your garden planting. We’ve successfully planted gardens at all times of the year. Many in the scorching heat of summer.

Want to know the trick to planting any time of year?

Prepare your soil

Get your soil holding onto water and nutrient. Your plants will love it.    We use a simple planting mix of clay, rock dust and compost added to sandy soil – plus a slow release fertiliser. Read more about it here.

Clay | Rock Dust | Compost Clay has a high cation exchange capacity (CEC) – this is a very good thing. It means that the soil holds onto nutrients that can be taken up by plants. (sand has a very low CEC,so is very poor at retaining nutrient)  Rock dust also has a high CEC. Rock dust is crushed basalt rock, it’s volcanic, so is full of trace elements and minerals. Read more about rockdust here. Both Clay and Rockdust build your soil profile.  Organic matter such as compost also has a high CEC and  adds micro-organisms to the soil that feed your plants.  Plants have a lovely symbiotic relationship with these micro-organisms. The microbes extract nutrient and make it available for the plants . Plants feed microbes in exchange.

Mulch  It helps the soil retain water. It also adds more organic matter to the soil as it gets broken down.  Choose mulch that is large and irregular shaped. Avoid tiny particle mulch like sawdust as it actually wicks water out of the soil

Plant choice Choose plants that are known survivors. We can show you what to use. Plants that are grown out here in our nursery, are sun hardened so will more than likely adapt well to your place.

Water   Make sure that your that your retic is working, check sprinklers aren’t blocked and that drip line isn’t clogged.   Whatever your watering system or schedule, stick your finger in the soil and physically check that it is sufficiently wet and not drying out. Check that the soil hasn’t become hydrophobic. Get your hose out and water and use a wetting agent if it has become water repellant. Even plants that are labelled as ‘drought tolerant’ or ‘water wise’ need plenty of water, especially when they’re first planted and getting their roots established.

Season By Season you can plant all year here in the Southwest

Autumn

Autumn is just a nice time to be outside. Getting plants and trees in the ground now mean they have a bit of time to get some root and foliage growth since the ground is warm with plenty of sunshine. Autumn also heralds the first rains of the year after Summer. We’ve been in the nursery industry for around 16 years and there’s been a longstanding saying – most notably from older generations – that a good time to plant is after the first rains of the year after summer, around April.

Winter

Winter around the Southwest and Perth is pretty mild compared to other parts of the world. (It doesn’t snow!)  It’s really nice to be outside, working and planting this time of year on a sunny winter’s day. And there’s rain.  Plants love the rain. Ever noticed that the garden looks really great after a good downpour? Especially after a thunderstorm.  All that electrical activity converts atmospheric nitrogen into a form that gets dissolved into the soil by the rain which is then used by your plants. This is called nitrogen fixing. Your plants get a good nutrient fix and green up beautifully!  Winter and early Spring is also the time when many deciduous trees are dug up and are available as bareroot trees. They’re dormant,  and a great time to get them into the ground.

All that electrical activity from a thunderstorm converts atmospheric nitrogen into a form that gets dissolved into the soil by the rain - giving your plants a good feed.

Spring

It’s Spring! So many reasons to be outside. It’s the beginning of the warm growing season. Many plants are still dormant in early spring and as the weather warms up, everything starts coming to life. The ground starts to warm up again and shrubs have around 9 months of good sunny growing weather ahead of them – a good time to take advantage of this.

Summer

Okay, so it’s getting warmer now, but it’s the festive season and you’ve got to get your yard looking gorgeous for Xmas and all those barbecues outside!  Summer is peak growing time. In the nursery, our  plants go nuts! They put on stacks of lush, green new growth. All this greenery cools down your house and backyard. Use the planting mix as described as above. You will need to be right on top of keeping your new garden watered. Your clay, rock dust, compost and mulch will help retain water. Make sure soil is wet before you plant and give them a good drink after planting.

Want some help with your getting your garden planted? Not sure where to start? Contact us or come in and have a look around.  We can help with plant groupings and steer you in the right direction regarding design styles 

* btw we’re talking about planting container grown shrubs and trees, not digging up and transplanting plants which is a different topic.