Plant now for spring |

Plant now for spring

JoAnne Skelly

Fall is the best time of year for planting. Warm soils encourage root growth before the ground freezes, allowing for earlier, more vigorous root and top growth in the spring. Fall plantings, with already established root systems, are more tolerant of summer heat than those planted in spring. Take advantage of autumn weather to visit local nurseries and the Nevada Division of Forestry’s Washoe Nursery and get planting.

The NDF nursery program provides technical assistance and native or adapted plant materials to encourage private landowners and public land management agencies to make conservation plantings for erosion control, greenstrips, post-fire rehabilitation, streambank stabilization, water conservation, wetland and riparian restoration, mine reclamation, reforestation, wildlife habitat, shelterbelts or woodlots. We’re all trying to conserve water in our landscapes and many plant to encourage wildlife, and who doesn’t need a windbreak?

The Washoe Nursery has a variety of shrubs and trees available. Hardy drought-tolerant shrubs include silver buffaloberry, peashrub, cotoneaster, chokecherry, currant, dogwood, lilac, native plum, oakleaf sumac, Nanking cherry, Wood’s rose and serviceberry.

You can purchase deciduous green ash, bur oak and hackberry, or evergreen trees such as Arizona cypress, Colorado blue spruce, Rocky mountain juniper and incense cedar. For color there’s yarrow, blue flax, blanket flower and penstemon.

Plants come in D-pots to 5-gallon, with prices ranging $2.25 to $8.25.

The nursery is open 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and closed on legal holidays. It closes for the season Oct. 16 so take advantage of this last chance to purchase reasonably priced nursery stock. Bring empty growing containers for recycling to help keep prices down.

More reasons for fall planting are all the plant sales at local retail nurseries. Buy bulbs, because spring bulbs need fall planting. Plant trees to give them a strong start next year. If you do plant, keep the soil moderately moist until the winter precipitation begins and at least once per month throughout the winter if there is no snow or significant rain.

JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.