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Falling Dormant

October 3, 2019

Welcome fall! As the seasons change, so does your garden. There is still planting to be done – time to get your mums, violas, and cole crops in the ground!

But as some plants are blooming with new life with the dropping temperatures, other are going dormant. Dormant does not mean dead, though! Perennial plants need to conserve energy during cold temperatures so that they can survive until the spring. Above-ground foliage will die back, but the roots are still active.

Changes in leaf color is part of the tree’s dormancy process. Leaves stop their food-making process as temperatures and length of daylight decrease. They change colors from green to yellow, orange, and red as the chlorophyll breaks down. Eventually, the leaf will die and blow off the branch.

This is why fall is actually the perfect time to plant trees. As the temperatures drop, the tree will focus on growing a strong root system instead of leaves or flowers. When spring returns, the tree’s healthy roots that it spent those months developing will help its beautiful foliage grow back! Protect all your dormant plants by adding a layer of mulch to your garden beds. The mulch insulates the soil and keeps the roots from freezing. One yard of mulch will cover about 100 square feet with a three inch deep layer.

If you want some life in your garden through dreary winter days, plant evergreens among your deciduous plants. Evergreen plants never go dormant. Their foliage sticks around all year long. Include pansies in your beds, too, for pops of color. Pansies are a cool season annual. They will die in the spring but be beautiful and vibrant through the fall and winter. Sub-zero pansy varieties are particularly winter-hardy and rebloom easily through the frost.

Can’t decide what to plant this fall? Our team at Martin’s Home & Garden is full of ideas! Stop by our Broad Street store or give us a call for tips and suggestions.

This blog post was also published as an article in The Murfreesboro Post on September 30, 2019.



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