Knowing when the best time to install a new landscape is a question I get in almost every meeting involving a landscaping component. The short answer to this question is fall. In East Tennessee Fall means cooler temperatures and a great time to be outside. After the brutal southern summers, plants go into a period of actively growing. There is enough time in fall to set roots in the ground and cozy in before they go into winter dormancy. Even though winters are rainy, cold, and plants are often leafless, roots continue to develop at a slower pace. The extra rain helps reduce the need to water and makes fall one of the best times to install a landscape.

Spring is another great season to install landscape plants, especially if you can get an early start. The spring season is similar to fall, but you will have to keep up with watering until the summer heat breaks. Having a few months of cool temps and extra water will help with establishing the roots before the heat sets in.

Summer installations can be a little more challenging they just may require a little more discipline. Again, the difference is all about the amount of watering. All plants need watered in during the installation, we are talking about for how long afterwards. A summer install generally requires the contractor to keep the plants watered every day. This upkeep may need to continue for about 2-3 weeks and helps alleviate any stress to the plants. After this you can slowly start cutting back to every other day, then weekly, and so on. Always be careful to pay closer attention to some of your more delicate or smaller plants, which may still need to be watered every day.

Even though we have established fall as the best time to plant, todays technologies can help keep new install up to snuff regardless of the season it is installed. A permanent irrigation system can be a great choice but may be a little more costly. I would rather spend the money on a more diverse larger garden and go with a temporary system. A simple timer and temporary irrigation system can be set up by your contractor…. but hey maybe your like me and hanging out in the garden running a hose is just as soothing to you.