When Should I Plant Trees and Shrubs?

Traditionally, spring has been the popular time for planting new trees. Recovering from a mind-numbingly long winter and the absence of color in the landscape, we get excited when we see that big yellow ball in the sky in early spring. Anxious about the chance to refresh our landscape, we head to the Grass Pad to pick out the perfect tree. Of course, spring is a great time to plant trees, but here in the mid-west, with our extreme summertime temperatures and drought potential, fall is the best time to plant trees.

Fall is the Best Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs

Let Mother Nature work for you instead of against you. The fall season offers ideal weather conditions that help a newly planted tree to establish and flourish in its new environment. Summer warmed soils allow trees to develop their root systems immediately after planting in the fall. Fall’s cooler temperatures and short days trigger trees to send energy to their roots in preparation for the winter, encouraging root development. Tree roots grow until the ground freezes, resulting in a stronger, more developed root system ready to spring into action when leaves emerge.

Fall is the Best Time to Plant Trees
Uncle Planting Tree

“Don’t work harder; work smarter. Plant trees in the fall to build roots faster.”

– Uncle

Fall Planting Trees

Planting in the Fall Requires Less Maintenance Next Spring

A fall-planted tree will have nearly three seasons of root growth before the heat of summer arrives. Therefore, fall-planted trees will not need as much supplemental watering as spring-planted trees when the following summer comes around. This will save you time and money. In addition, planting trees in the fall can save you time to concentrate on other areas of your lawn or garden in the spring.

Do Fall-Planted Trees and Shrubs Need Less Care?

A fall-planted tree will require proper care in planting, watering, and fertilizing, but cooler temperatures with appropriate mulching keep the water from evaporating quickly. If you are planting in spring, fall, or winter, your newly planted tree will require the same tender love and care during the first year. Feeding freshly planted trees and shrubs is essential using Uncle’s Root Accelerator at planting once a month for the first twelve months is recommended.

See Related: Guide to Successful Tree and Shrub Planting

Can Trees be Planted in Winter?

Winter is also an excellent time to plant trees until the ground freezes. Although the selection of trees is greater in fall and spring, Grass Pad Nurseries will have good selections of trees available during the winter months. If you can get a shovel into the ground to dig the hole, it’s safe to plant a tree. Trees go dormant, essentially going to sleep for the winter. Next spring, when the tree wakes up from dormancy, they don’t realize they have been moved, reducing any chances of transplant shock.

Can You Plant Trees in Winter?


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