Plants, shrubs and flowers thrive when the weather is comfortable – not too hot – not too cold. It is important to understand how and when to landscape your home to ensure the fruits of your labor are a success, and do not result in a bunch of brown, limp foliage.

For many novice gardeners, selecting the right type of plants and the right time to install them can be confusing.  Your objective is to maximize your home’s curb appeal. To make your effort the most successful, it is important you know all the facts and particulars about your ground conditions, and each type of plant, shrub or flower you are planning to install.

Factors also include the amount of sun or shade your plants will receive in your landscaping beds, and will that sunlight be projected in the morning or the afternoon? Or do your landscaping beds get any sun at all? What type of soil conditions exist in your garden? And, how good is the drainage of your landscaping beds during rain storms?  Too much sun, not enough sun, too much water, not enough water, and poor soil conditions all contribute to a failed garden.  Knowing every aspect of growing conditions will help you choose plants that will thrive, with minimal care.

Though many of us get the planting bug on the first beautiful day of spring, it is not necessarily the best time to start your landscaping project.  Unexpected heat waves, excessive rain or a surprise snow storm early in the season, can place stress on newly installed plants, shrubs and flowers.

Plant during the latter part of spring or summer, you will need to pay a little more attention to your garden.  The hot and humid days of summer place more stress on your plants, shrubs and flowers, and therefore will require routine watering, and a little extra TLC.

As early fall lends itself to cooler temperatures and lower humidity, it is the most favorable, and most comfortable time of the year to embark on your landscaping project.  Planting trees, shrubs and perennials in the fall allows for them to establish their root system so they are strong when spring arrives.   More developed root systems help plants perform better in the summer, more so than those planted in the spring.

Timing is not the only thing that makes your landscape installation a success.  Knowing which plants to install and how can be the difference between a beautiful landscaped yard and a bed of dead plants. Most plants that die within a few months of being planted do so because they were not planted properly or because they were not watered correctly; it is rare for a tree or shrub to die from insects or disease within the first year of planting. Planting in fall will help improve your chances of a successful installation, as will knowing the right way to plant and water.

If you are dead set on planting in the spring, make sure you do so when the morning temperatures are not forecasted to go below 45 to 50 degrees.  Frost is a major factor in prematurely killing flowers and delicate seedlings. In our region, the beginning to middle of May is the best time to start your landscaping project. If you are unsure if it is safe to plant, consult with your local garden center expert who should be able to give you some pointers and tips.

The most important consideration when planting during the spring, is making sure the ground conditions are favorable.  Make sure when you dig down the ground is not frozen or too wet from spring rains.  Although early spring is not good for many types of plants, dormant shrubs and trees, as well as some cold crop vegetable seeds, like peas, spinach and onions can be placed in the ground successfully. Some very cold tolerant annuals such as pansies, primroses and violas can also be planted in early spring.

After the threat of frost has passed, you can plant or transplant any type of annual, perennial, vegetable, shrub or tree.  Just keep in mind that an early summer heatwave, will require more attention and care for your plants to survive.  Plants or delicate flowers that aren’t tolerant to heat will struggle if planted in the later days of spring or summer.  If that is your plan, speak with a professional that can help guide you to the right type of planting materials that will provide beautiful results.

Once the fall rolls in, you can basically plant anything.  Fall planting is advantageous because of favorable soil temperatures and moisture conditions that promote root growth to sustain plants during the critical first year in the ground.

Shrubs and trees planted in the fall will establish strong root systems by the time spring rolls around.  Perennials will flourish and be ready to bud.  Fall is also the best time of the year to divide perennials and replant them, although it is not encouraged for any perennials that are in mid-bloom.

As the fall holidays approach, it is a good time to plant cold tolerant annuals like Diasica, Osteospermum, Nemesia and Osaka, the flowering cabbage that seems to be installed in every landscape bed in October.

As with any home improvement project.  It is always best to consult with a professional who is familiar with each type of specimen and the key components they require to grow, bloom and thrive in the landscaping of your home.

 Gary Malandro, President – Gary’s Landscaping

(718) 761-2475