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In spite of the best arguments: Autumn is not the number one planting season anymore

Planting period autumn – Photo: BdB

On the first few warm spring days countless customers pour into the garden centers, market gardens and DIY stores. The season for garden plants and everything one needs for planting them in the ground begins now. Why is this? Because actually the autumn is the better planting period in our latitudes.

Since most garden plants have started being grown and offered in pots, they can be planted at any time of the year. There are hardly any problems with them taking root. Yet, the autumn still has plenty of advantages as the classic planting time. The care and supply effort for a freshly planted bush is for example much lower than for one planted in the summer, because it needs much less water in the initial phase. Furthermore the plants that are placed into the ground in the autumn have a growth lead. The reason: The fine root hairs that are important for the intake of water and nutrients continue to grow in the winter months – as long as there is no frost on the ground – and anchor the plant in its new location. The bushes and shrubs are thus already firmly rooted in the spring and can supply the first buds with the necessary nutrients.

Autumn leaves – Photo: BdB

In spite of these advantages and although the assortment of plants is extremely attractive and diversified in autumn, this time of the year is no longer a “second season” for the retail trade and can’t be compared with the spring at all. The frequency of the customers and thus also ultimately the turnover is often unsatisfactory. This might be due to the fact that the garden owners are more motivated in the spring because they are glad to be back outdoors again after the long winter. But it may also be because many people simply “decorate” their gardens more with plants today rather than actually actively doing gardening: They want everything to be done as fast as possible and the plants should look perfect from the very moment they are put into place. That means for example fruit trees are purchased that already bear fruit, bushes that are already blooming are planted and even bulb flowers like daffodils are preferably purchased and planted in pots. One reason for the autumn losing its significance as a planting period, might also be that today many garden owners don’t know much about the natural processes in the garden.

Garden center – Photo: BdB

In order to make the autumn more attractive as a garden season, the initiative of the Bayerischer Gärtnerei-Verband (Bavarian Nursery Association) has been staging an annual campaign week entitled “Autumnal welcome” since 2008. 120 market gardens from Bavaria and 60 others from further federal states took part in the campaign this year. Advertising material for the campaign to kick off the autumn season – for instance posters and folders – was provided with the aim of setting buying impulses among the customers. But do such individual campaigns suffice to anchor the autumn long-term in the minds of the people as gardening time again? Or does this require more? Perhaps a comprehensive campaign which involves the various interest groups of the green industry jointly? For example, the grill and BBQ industry is a good role model here. Within a few years the industry has succeeded in turning barbecuing in winter into a hip theme and thus also in clearly extending the sales season. And to be quite honest: There are many more and better arguments for planting things in autumn than for barbecuing in winter.

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