Landscape & Gardening

The Best Time for Planting Trees and Shrubs

As we head out of summer into the cooler weather of autumn, we get into the best time of year for planting trees and shrubs. Putting them in the ground this time of year will give them plenty of time to get their roots established before winter sets in.

The spring weather can be very unpredictable with a late frost or early summer heat that can cause the plants to have problems.

The cool temperatures of fall also means you water less often than you will in spring or summer.

The Basics To Planting Trees and Shrubs

Whether you are going to plant shade trees, fruit trees or shrubs, one of the most important parts of planting is in the digging of the hole. When it comes to trees and shrubs, the size of the planting hole should be roughly two times the diameter of the container the plant came in. This only applies to the diameter and not the depth.

planting fruit trees
Planting holes need to be about twice as wide, but not twice as deep

You will want to dig the hole about 4 to 6″ deeper than the root ball. This loosens the soil underneath so that roots have plenty of room to expand. This is a great time to mix in a few shovel fulls of compost to help those roots power up.

As you plant, be sure to keep the crown (the main base) of the tree or shrub slightly above the soil line. This keeps the base from sitting in water during periods of too much rain. When it comes to watering, be sure to water every few days until the plant has become dormant for winter. If you are having a warmer and dryer winter than usual, be sure to still water every few weeks.

A Critical Step in Planting

Finally, the one critical step that many leave out is mulching the trees and shrubs once planted. A heavy 3 to 4″ coating of shredded bark mulch or even straw is critical to a new plant’s long-term health. Not only does it keep the moisture in, it helps the soil temperature stay regulated. It also keeps out competing weeds around the base of the tree or shrub and provides much need protection for the plant through winter.

Thanks to Old World Garden for these great tips.



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