Fall is an ideal time to plant native plants, including trees, shrubs and perennials. Native plants are more climate resilient than non-native varieties.
In fall, roots can grow because the soil is still warm and the weather is cool. In this environment, plants don’t have to struggle under high temperatures, and fall temperatures mean less watering. Plants also endure fewer pests and diseases in autumn than in spring or summer. Some nurseries even offer fall clearance sales on plants.
Consider offering winter food for your area’s habitat by including hollies, sumac, beautyberry and bayberry in your fall planting.
Some tree species to consider are pawpaw, loblolly pine, eastern redbud, American hornbeam/musclewood, and willow oak.
There may still be free trees available to Anne Arundel County residents via the Groves of Gratitude program sponsored by the county’s Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA). Learn more about the program here: www.aawsa.org/about-gog.
WSA has also provided a list of 26 climate-resistant trees classified by height (understory and canopy), so a tree can be planned according to what your planting area requires. That list is available at www.aawsa.org/resilient-species.
Seeds, Stalks and Leaves
Stalks and seeds offer shelter and food, respectively, for pollinators and other valuable insects during cold months, so don’t prune them until late winter.
Mowing fallen leaves into the grass adds shredded leaf material that will decompose and apply its natural nutrients to the lawn.
Where possible, consider leaving leaves to be part of the necessary life cycle of beneficial insects.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, based on climate data from 1991-2020, our area’s first early frost is predicted to be around November 7 this year, and it may be even later, so there is still time to get some natives in the ground.
Janet AlJunaidi is a Watershed Steward candidate with the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy.