When you are planning to plant trees in your garden, it is also crucial to know the best time to plant them.
You should know that trees require some time to establish, thus the weather at least should be good enough for giving them enough time after planting.
You can grow a healthy tree if it is transplanted at the right time.
However, every tree type can have a different suitable time and conditions.
What are these conditions that you should consider while planting trees? Let’s find out!
Plant Trees According to Seasons
Usually, the best times for planting trees are spring and fall.
Though both of these have their set of advantages and disadvantages.
The seasons and the climatic conditions whether hot or cold are not the only determining factors of when to plant a tree but they are of importance.
The two main seasons for the planting are fall and spring.
Let’s find out what factors play to their advantage and what are disadvantageous.
Ability to bear hot temperatures
- Fall: If you plant your tree in fall, then it will likely bear the hot temperatures. Hence, in the future a hotter temperature change may not stress it out.
- Spring: This does not hold well for trees planted in spring. The risk is higher with spring planting because it may not be able to withstand the hotter temperatures and stress out instead.
Watering the Garden
- Spring: During spring, you will be watering the garden on a regular basis. Hence, you are already engaged in watering the rest of the plants. You will not skip watering your trees and the rest of the plants that need water as you are more involved in taking care of your garden.
- Fall: In comparison, it is easier to forget you have to water plants during fall. This is because there are fewer plants that need water at this time. Unless they are winter plants in your garden.
- Spring: Spring planting is not affected by early winter.
- Fall: An early winter may freeze the ground when the tree isn’t established properly yet. If the water freezes, it will not be available to roots which can then die.
Eventually, the timing depends on where you live.
If it is the North, spring planting may prevent cold, if the South, fall planting may avoid heat.
Planting by Type
Before you start worrying about the right climate, look at the type of tree you want to plant.
Is it going to be an evergreen tree or a deciduous tree?
As the name suggests, these will never lose their foliage.
They remain full throughout the year.
Hence, they do not have a dormant period.
That said, the evergreen trees still do not grow as quickly during the cold months as they do for the rest of the year.
It is hard to know the best time to plant them as they do not give any clear signs of when it is best to plant them.
The good thing is, that they are still tougher than deciduous trees.
Their toughness allows for more chances to plant during the year than the deciduous trees.
In fact, you can plant them later in the spring months and earlier in the fall.
On the other hand, it is the normal annual cycle of deciduous trees where their entire foliage drops.
That happens in autumn when you see barren trees on the roadside and in gardens.
This is when the tree goes into a state of dormancy.
Throughout winter, they remain in the same dormant state.
Only when it is time for spring do the buds make an appearance again.
However, not all deciduous trees lose their foliage at the same time.
The leaves of maple trees may fall off earlier than that of oak trees only fall later in autumn.
The time when the deciduous trees are dormant is probably the best one to plant them.
Anywhere in between fall and winter when their dormant state is obvious.
It is never a good time to plant trees when the ground is frozen.
That restricts water supply to roots.
How to Plant Trees?
Now that you are aware of the best time to plant trees, let’s move on to how you should be planting trees.
Generally, trees require deep planting.
The whole should be about three times wider than the root ball and also shallow enough.
But first, what kind of tree are you planning to buy?
- Container grown
- Bare root
- Balled and burlapped
- Tree seedling
- Grown from a seed?
The least expensive of all the options is growing a tree from a seed.
However, that will certainly take long enough to grow into a full, big tree.
Are you sure you can wait years for your tree to grow?
The other options remain the ball and burlapped trees, container grown and bare-root plants.
Now the first two are fairly expensive, so if you want the best of both worlds plants, avail the bare root option.
Planting Container Grown and Ball and Burlapped Trees
These are more expensive because the nursery has invested some effort in producing them.
Hence, you can make errors while transplanting and there is no need to remain as vigilant as in bare root options.
Spring planting or fall both are possible depending on the tree type but the important thing is that as long as you transplant it well, these trees can survive in both seasons.
Growing Tree Seedlings
This is different than planting grown trees.
The best time for planting for seedlings is different because they should only be planted when it is dormant.
This time period is usually from December to March.
In order to plant it ensure:
- the roots are moist and fibrous
- a hole big enough so that roots fit
- Hold the roots down, backfill with soil to root collar
- Tap to prevent air pockets
- Water it regularly and mulch too
Bare Root Plants
A nursery digs these bare root plants which can be shrubs, trees or perennials when they are dormant.
This way, these are stored without any soil around the roots, hence, they are bare root plants.
While these are one of inexpensive options, it requires more care and vigilance once you start growing it.
This is different from buying a tree in the pot.
In that case, it is a plant with an undisturbed root ball.
You will place the entire root ball with the dirt in the ground while planting it.
Hence, the roots are not disturbed.
Plus, in a container-grown tree, the roots have been specially protected with hard plastic to shield it from injury.
Before planting a container-grown tree make sure that the roots are not rootbound and that they spread easily.
In a burble-wrapped tree, you should carefully remove the burlap and separate roots prior to planting.
Bare root trees lack soil around the roots.
Thus, the first step is to establish them in soil, thus they are more vulnerable even if handled with care.
Therefore, there is no room for error compared to the container-grown plants.
A small mistake can kill them.
The best time to plant a bare-rooted tree will be early spring in North.
Early winter will in fact surely kill the tree in that region.
However, the opposite applies to the South where an early summer would kill the bare rooted tree so fall is a better time for plantation.
For planting, dig up a wide and shallow hole.
After placing the tree inside and examine if it is not leaning.
It is harder for bare root trees to stand without needing help.
Make a mound of soil right in the center of hole.
Situate tree at top while roots hang down.
Care After Planting Trees
After planting trees you have to backfill it with soil.
While these two help amends the soil, they will also give your tree a healthy organic fertilizer supply.
Backfill soil till the root crown carefully, not leaving any roots exposed.
If they do, the roots will dry up fastly.
Tap it carefully not pressing hard to block the water from reaching the roots.
In some cases, you may have to stake the tree temporarily in one place.
This allows the roots to take hold.
Next keep watering the tree regularly.
Besides watering, mulching is a necessity too.
Cover the entire area in about 5 to 10 cm (around 2 to 4 inches) of mulch while leaving around 5 cm of the trunk around.
Once you water and mulch your tree well, it will start to grow.
Trees are essential for human and animal life.
With rapid urbanization, deforestation is a huge concern to the environment.
At this time, many people should plant trees in their gardens to keep the environment fresh and clean for several generations.
Thus, follow these tips to know when is the best time to plant trees and how to deploy them.