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Monday - April 19, 2010

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Best time to plant wetland plants in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart


Hello Mr. Smarty Plants - I'm working on a fresh water, shoreline wetland creation project in New York State. I've created two zones of native wetland plantings, an emergent shallow marsh zone and a emergent shoreline zone (see list below). Within these zones I'm proposing to vegetate with 2" plug plantings. This project has been delayed a bit and the landscaping can't take place until the fall. Is it 'ok' to plant plugs in the fall and if so what window of time should we aim for? Emergent Shallow Marsh: Pontederia cordata, Scirpus cyperinus, Peltandra virginica, Sagittaria latifolia, Carex vulpinoidea, Acorus calamus, Leersia oryzoides Emergent Shoreline: Asclepias incarnata, Lobelia cardinalis,Iris versicolor, Juncus effusus, Carex stricta, Epilobium coloratum, Scirpus atrovirens, Chelone glabra


It is absolutely fine to wait until fall to plant.  I think the reason spring is considered "the time to plant" is because there are more plants available in nurseries at that time and more anxious gardeners wanting to plant them!  Early fall is ideal ... plants are generally not heat or water stressed (yours certainly won't be water stressed!) and they have time to settle in, generate some roots and harden off before winter dormancy.

You can double-check with your local agricultural extension office, but I would say that September or October are ideal. You will probably be fine well into November depending on the weather.

Your plant choices are excellent ... we applaud your efforts.  Lady Bird Johnson always said that we should leave the land "better" than we found it and the basic premise of the Sustainable Sites Initiative is that every landscape can be a functioning ecosystem.  Your are obviously doing your part!



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