Winter is a Great Time to Plant!

Georgias weather makes late fall and winter excellent times to plant most woody plants and many perennials. In most areas of the state, the soil temperatures are warm enough to allow planting and root growth. Do not plant into frozen soils or before weather freezes soils, but this seldom happens in most parts of Georgia.

Planting during the winter gives plants several months of cooler, wetter weather to allow plants to recover from transplanting before they must endure our hot, blistering Georgia summers. Encouraging home owners to allow you to install plants in the fall and winter can give them a healthier plant and may provide work for you and your crews at a slower time of the year.

UGA has numerous publications that may help you to select, place and install plants at this time of year.

Proper soil preparation and planting procedures can make the difference between a healthy, long living plant and a sickly or dead plant. Once the plant is in the ground, you will not usually have the chance to remedy mistakes made during planting. The UGA publication Soil Preparation and Planting Procedures for Ornamental Plants in the Landscape will help you to plant so as to give the plant the greatest chance for success.

Planting trees properly by Dr. Kim Coder, UGA Professor of Community Forestry shares tips on establishing healthy trees. Read his article here. You may learn some surprising things about the best way to plant a tree!

Proper plant selection is important in long term plant success. Many plantings fail before they even begin because the wrong plant is selected! Select plants based upon the site not just personal preference, cost or other factors. Analyze the site for these characteristics and select plants that are adapted to the sites conditions for the best chance of success:

  • Sun/partial shade/shade
  • Well or poorly drained & Irrigated or non-irrigated
  • Soil type and compaction
  • Ultimate size of plant desired width and height
  • Proximity to other plants, buildings, paving, etc.

Use these guides from UGA to select:

Shrubs, trees, ground covers and vines

Perennial flowers

Annual flowers

Flowering bulbs

Ground covers

Deer-tolerant ornamental plants

Water in the landscape is more of an issue than in the past. Properly planning and planting a landscape can help plants develop a strong vigorous root system that resists drought, makes efficient use of available water and encourages vigorous plant growth. These publications from UGA can help you plan, plant and maintain a healthy, water efficient landscape.

Seven Steps to a Water-Wise Landscape

Water Saving Tips When Planning a New Landscape

Proper Planting Results in Healthy, Water-Efficient Plants

Managing a Water-Wise Landscape

Efficient Landscape Irrigation Systems

Developing a WaterSmart Landscape

Using Water Wisely with Automated Irrigation Systems

Winter Protection of Ornamental Plants gives information on preparing plants to withstand cold winter weather. Preventing cold damage is important since the damage cannot be undone once it has happened. After the plant is damaged by cold the plant must grow out of the injury, if it is still healthy enough.

For more helpful UGA publications visit

Dr. Teri Hamlin
North Region Agriculture Education
Georgia Department of Education
204C Four Towers University of Georgia
Athens, Ga 30602
706-552-4461 / 706-540-0032
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