The Best Time To Plant … Fall In The High Desert!

Why Fall Planting Is Best

Fall is the best time to plant. Moana Nursery tells you this every year, but maybe you need convincing. So let us explain why fall planting is so good for plants!

It’s pretty simple, actually. In the fall, the warm soil encourages root growth. Roots continue to grow through the winter until the ground actually freezes. In early spring, roots begin new growth or continue to develop at a faster rate, and top growth begins. While the same plant planted in spring gets a slow start due to cool soils and transplant shock, the fall-planted plants are becoming well established. When summer finally arrives, the fall-planted plant is far better equipped to deal with heat and drought, largely due to its better established root system.  So, fall is when a plant focuses on root growth and strength because there is no competing top growth activity.

Of course, there are plenty of other good reasons to plant in the fall. More precipitation, cooler weather, easier weed control and fewer pest and disease problems. Another big fall planting advantage: more time (and probably some good sales)!

Every fall-planting advocate mentions it. In the fall, the gardener has far more time to get the work done. And this works for you in two ways. First of all, there is a longer period with far more “good days” for planting in the fall than during our tricky weather in spring. And second, the gardener always has more time during the fall than during the spring rush to get everything done after winter.

So, come in to Moana Nursery and take advantage of fall planting and our Timely Landscape Specials. You and your landscape will be very happy you did!

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2016 at 12:47 pm and is filed under Children and Gardening, Gardening, Landscaping, Organic & Green. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Bruce Johnson says:

    Your recommendations for fall planting are already known to me from your earlier articles. This time I’m going to pay attention!

    ... on July September 5th, 2014
  2. ariane says:

    That’s great info! Does this work for ALL plants?

    ... on July September 6th, 2014
  3. Bruce says:

    The answer is yes for all plants that shut down in winter cold with the caution that cold hardy plants in very cold areas that are right at the margin of successful planting (as in USDA Hardiness Zones) may benefit from a spring planting to maximize root establishment. In our area, for instance, a Zone 6 hardy plant in a cold microclimate may be the exception to the “Fall is Best” rule.

    ... on July September 6th, 2014
  4. Shawn says:

    How about for trees?

    ... on July October 1st, 2014
  5. Bruce says:

    Absolutely, trees & shrubs especially benefit from fall planting and the subsequent focus on root development – – without the distraction of topside growth demands.

    ... on July October 1st, 2014
  6. Mrs.V says:

    I planted 2 lavender plants last fall and am looking to transplant them. Should I do it now or wait until Spring?

    ... on July October 2nd, 2014
  7. Bruce says:

    We actually think that now is best, in line with “fall is the best time to plant.” Our caution is to make sure when you are transplanting, that you don’t cut into any of the woody parts of the plant as that would be a wound that a harsh winter could exploit.

    ... on July October 2nd, 2014
  8. Toni says:

    I’m wondering about irrigation. With the first frost alert, should we discontinue automatic waterings through our system?
    BTW – thanks for all the excellent advice over the years to keep my crazy South Meadows property flourishing!

    ... on July October 31st, 2014
  9. Bruce says:

    Not yet as this is not expected to be a sustained cold/frost event. With our dry winters, we want to keep the irrigation system on as long as possible and even then we will likely still need some winter watering. Our rule of thumb revolves around at least three cold (below freezing) nights with no warm up expected on the horizon. Then, it is time to turn off and drain your irrigation system. Hope this helps.

    ... on July October 31st, 2014
  10. Gev says:

    Congrats on your new home! I would like to start with a question: is the fence chain link or pviarcy (will cast a shadow when the sun is shining)? If it’s a solid, pviarcy fence, you may want to consider other locations because your garden may not receive the 8-12 hrs of sun it will desire each day. Those fences are on the east and south sides, correct? If the layout of your yard allows it, I would consider using the north and west sides more sun.Is the 4 4 box accessible from the strawberry side in the corner garden? If it is, you should be able to access each square of the box. If not, you may want to reduce the size of the box so you can reach each square (2 foot reach from any side). Do a search on companion plants.’ There’s lots of good stuff out there. In the meantime, know that tomatoes and peppers do well together. Squash and peppers do well together also. Here are some others:Spinach: strawberryCucumbers: radish, lettuce, beans, peasPotatoes: tomato, cucumber, sunflower, green beans, peas and broad beansWhen planning and eventually planting, consider the full-growth size of the plants. Strawberries will stay low to the ground and spread, while cantelope (a vine) will go everywhere (consider growing it up a trellis of some sort). The watermelon (can also be grown up a trellis) and squash can/will grow large, as will the tomatoes. From my experience, 2-4 squares have been needed for tomato plants as well as zucchini. I hope that helps . and that I haven’t discouraged you. I remember my first year; the final plan didn’t look anything like the first one! Search this site, esp here: It has lots more detail for planning. And if you can get the book on Square Foot Gardening, it will help lots too. It has spacing charts as well as planting timeframes. Happy planning .

    ... on July November 23rd, 2015
  11. Paul Grant says:

    Your proposal for fall planting are truly important for the guidance of those who love to plant.

    I concur that fall is the best time to plant because the warm soil encourages root growth. Thanks for sharing!

    ... on July October 17th, 2016
  12. Kathi Bosworth says:

    It’s still warm in Reno (Nov. 12) I’m wondering if I should prune my grasses?

    ... on July November 14th, 2016
  13. Bruce says:

    You can cut them back but most often we wait until early spring in order to take advantage of the visual display in the winter landscape.

    ... on July December 13th, 2016

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