Fall’s the best time to harvest discounts at garden centers
Fall is the best time of year to get new trees, shrubs and perennials into the ground before cold weather sets in, and it’s often the best time to buy them, too. Garden centers traditionally mark down their off-season inventories rather than muscle them indoors for overwintering protection.
Now is the perfect time to bring a little nature indoors, too. Discounted items also might include succulents and carnivorous plants. Many of the sale items are teasers, priced so low that you can’t resist pulling out your wallet even though you may have to work hard at protecting them once they make it home.
Before heading out for your bargain shopping, anticipate. Set aside several sheltered areas along retaining walls or the sides of buildings for what one veteran gardener labels “clearance stashes.”
Understand that nurturing those unplanned-for plants until spring may eat into your investment, at least in terms of late-season sweat equity. They’ll need a deep watering, holes dug for their containers or burlap-wrapped root balls, and then some fill dirt or straw layered around them for insulation.
“Containers are vulnerable to freeze damage,” said Weston Miller, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service. “Overall, I would recommend planting things right away if you buy in fall sales. Overwintering them is not worth it if you’re going with planters. Most people are not willing to deal with all that.”