If you are thinking of adding new trees to your landscape did you know you don’t have to wait till spring to plant new trees? Fall is a great time to plant some of those trees before the soil freezes.

When should I plant fall trees?

Trees can be planted from mid-August to mid-October. Usually during this time there are moderate and relatively stable air temperatures, and soil temperatures and moisture levels are usually in a range that promote rapid root development.



What trees can I plant in the fall?

Most container-grown deciduous trees and shrubs sold at garden centers (Sometimes with balled or bur lapped roots) are excellent candidates for fall planting. These plants usually possess well- developed root systems, and the roots of many landscape plants are able to grow even when soil temperatures cool. Conifers, such as pine and spruce, should have a slightly earlier start, they prefer the warm soil temperatures (60 to 70 F) common in late summer to early fall (mid-August through September).

Tree species that can be planted in the fall include maple, buckeye or horsechestnut, alder, catalpa, hackberry, hawthorn, ash, honeylocust, Kentucky coffeetree, crabapple, Amur corktree, spruce, pine, sycamore, linden, and elm. Most deciduous shrubs are easily planted in fall; however, broad-leaved evergreens like rhododendron and narrow-leaved evergreens like yew should be planted in the spring.

5 Tips for Fall Tree Planting

  1. Read the tag information and choose the location that matches the growing conditions your plant requires. **Note the plant’s mature size and leave enough space around it to allow for it to reach it’s full size.
  2. Dig the hole two to three times wider and just as deep as the root ball. Once the hole is the right size, dig in the shovel a few times to loosen the bottom of the hole to make it easier for the roots to spread.
  3. Do not add compost into the planting hole. This is especially crucial for trees and larger shrubs. If the soil in the planting hole is more nutrient-rich than the surrounding soil, the roots won’t want to spread and will grow in circles instead of out.
  4. Do not fertilize the tree. In the fall you do not want to encourage foliage to grow; it will weaken the plant and take energy away from root establishment. Fertilize your tree in the spring.
  5. Mulch and Water. Mulch around the planting hole. Two inches is plenty. Keep the mulch from directly touching the trunk(s) or stem(s). Water your newly planted tree for 20-30 minutes a day until the ground freezes. Trees and shrubs are thirsty, big drinkers. Not watering them properly is a big mistake, especially in fall when they really need to establish roots in a short time.

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