What Happens to Plants/Trees in the Fall?

plants trees fall

Watching leaves change their colors into a beautiful display is one of the best things about fall. Landscapers may rejoice because certain pests are no longer a problem or because their mowing routine has become more accessible. Understanding what exactly happens to trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses in the fall can help you create a winter landscaping routine that protects your grounds and allow you to better care for your plants when the temperatures drop.

Most Plants Change Their State From Reproductive to Dormant

Most plants become dormant in the winter, shifting from the reproductive state. Grasses and perennials go to seed and usually turn brown after the first frost. When this happens, we cut them back about 4-6″ from the ground, leaving a little bit of the crown in the ground. Removing the dead parts allows for new growth in the spring.

Most trees and shrubs stop producing chlorophyll, the chemical that turns sunlight into energy. The plants send sugars to their roots for winter nourishment. This process removes excess moisture from the leaves, preparing them for freezing weather. Without this protective process, the moisture in the plants would cause them to expand and break when temperatures drop below 32 degrees. Seeds and berries will begin ripening, starting their reproductive cycle. Their chlorophyll process causes their leaves to drop to the ground, allowing natural reproduction.

Things to Avoid During the Dormant Stage of Plant Life

One of the biggest mistakes that landscapers and gardeners can make in the wintertime is treating plants the same way they do in the summer. Plants are more delicate in the dormant state and less able to heal after a gardening or fertilizer mistake. Dormant plants don’t respond well to the use of nitrogen fertilizers or any treatment that promotes growth.

In fact, using strong fertilizer on a dormant plant can severely damage it or put it back into growth mode, which could kill the plant when the weather gets colder.

Refrain from overwatering plants, too. All their energy is stored in the roots, so overwatering and drowning the roots affects their nutrient reserves. Over time, the soggy ground could cause the roots to rot. Overwatering also creates conditions that cause root fungus, which can kill the plant. Some types of root fungus are communicable between closely planted plants, so the infection of one could lead to damaging an entire swath of your landscape.

Fertilizer, Pesticide, and Herbicide Solutions for Wintertime Plant Care

We believe in partnering with the best suppliers of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, trusted environmental scientist vendors that provide solutions for maintaining plant health in each cycle of their life.

Simplot supplies our company with agricultural chemicals applicable to many species of plants. One of the most popular plant treatment chemicals we purchase from Simplot is the Spectacle pre-emergent, used to kill weeds in the early fall and protect delicate dormant plants from invasive weed species. Doing this before wintertime sets in reduces the emergence of weeds in the springtime. This further protects plants, as the new growth and young plants may not be as robust and less able to withstand pesky weed invasions.

We also provide other types of plant protection and growth solutions for our clients, depending on your needs and the type of plants in your landscaping. Our knowledgeable customer care team can help you find the right products.

Do You Need Help Winterizing Your Landscape?

If you’re unsure how to protect your grasses, trees, perennials, and shrubbery this winter, we can help. EarthWorks provides customized solutions to protect the grounds around your apartment complex or university, near your office building, or any commercial space. Contact us today for an assessment of your needs and professional recommendations for pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and much more!


Value • Integrity • Service • Quality


EarthWorks © 2022. All rights reserved • Designed & Developed by MarketBurst.net