AD: Why fall is the best time for planting

Autumn Blaze, a Red Maple variety available at Westwood Gardens.

All photos: Courtesy, Westwood Gardens

Fall is more than just a color show for trees and shrubs, it’s actually the best time of year to plant them, too. The cool weather allows their root systems to grow deeper into the soil and establish the plant better.

By planting a tree, shrub or perennial in the fall you give it several more months to root in and establish itself before a dry hot summer hits. Long term survivability greatly improves on fall planted ornamentals.

“Many people overlook fall as a gardening season,” said Russell Black, owner of Westwood Gardens. “But it’s the best time to plant: it takes less watering and is easier on the plants.”

So what makes trees and shrubs change color in Autumn? The change in foliage color is the start of dormancy, a process that allows trees and hardy perennial plants to survive the cold temperatures and shorter winter days. The weather doesn’t initiate the change, but it is in fact the shortening of the days (regardless of temperatures) that signals the process.


The show of fall color is epitomized with Maple trees. One particular variety of Red Maple called ‘Autumn Blaze’ is very popular around Northwest Arkansas. It is a bright red color in the fall that’s impossible to miss. October Glory maples turn a deep red, almost burgundy color. Sugar Maples can span the spectrum from yellow to orange to red and are common in landscapes in the area.

You won’t be able to overlook the Japanese Maples if you come browse through Westwood Gardens in fall. They put on an amazing color show that is even more impressive because of their unique leaf shapes and textures.

Other trees that are good for fall color include:
Ginkgo – bright yellow
Dogwood – purple (with red berries)
Oaks – red (don’t forget about these native trees. They aren’t all just brown in the fall! Try Northern Red Oak for great fall color.)
River Birch – yellow
Blackgum or Sweetgum – deep, bright red – showstopper.


So what trees should you plant this fall? What color will they turn? Browse through the tree selection at Westwood Gardens this time of year for the best show of color and largest selection in the state.

“As with all plantings at any time of year, don’t forget to water it in when you plant and don’t plant it and forget it,” said Stephen Black, Owner of Westwood. “Come back and water every 3-4 days for several weeks.”

Find the perfect (fall colored) tree for your landscape at any Westwood Gardens location. Westwood Gardens is a family-owned and operated business that has been selling plants for over 35 years. They grow the majority of their plants right here in Fayetteville- that way, you get the freshest, healthiest plants for your garden.

More Photos

Red Oak

Japanese Maple


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