Planting your new trees in autumn may seem opposite to popular belief, but there are many reasons to plant seedlings in early fall just after ground frost slightly hardens the soil. As long as you can dig the ground with a shovel, it is okay to plant. It’s easier if you pre-dig your holes and store the soil in a shed to prevent it from hardening. A common thought is that young trees can’t survive the winter, but that’s not the case. Trees go dormant in the winter – their growth slows down along with energy consumption and metabolism. When trees are dormant, they don’t require any extra care, and you can wait for the spring thaw before checking for general needs such as fertilizing and watering. By planting trees in the fall we can reduce the stress on the tree because of these cooler temperatures. Fluctuating temperatures will still allow the tree to become partially established throughout the winter months. When temperatures rise above zero in the spring, the snow will melt around your seedling providing the first watering, setting your tree up for productive seasonal growth.
Planting your tree in the fall is a good start, but you still need to plant it properly for successful growth. Seedlings seem small in a large yard, and the tendency may be to plant close to buildings or other trees and shrubs, but imagine your tree in full growth. Give your new tree plenty of room to spread its root system down into the soil and branches and upper canopy up into the sunlight.
*Safety Tip* Be aware of underground utility lines or pipes before you dig. If necessary, phone your local municipality or utilities agent for information.
After planting, your tree will require the general care as mentioned on the nursery care card according to the species. Mulch after planting to add insulation and protect against invasive weeds that pop up early in the spring. Mulch helps keep moisture in the ground around tree roots by blocking evaporation, but watering will depend on the size of your new tree and climate conditions.
We are here to help if you need professional tree planting services. Site preparation and fall landscaping are part of our extensive arborist list as we serve customers throughout Southwest BC. Contact us for more information and your free consultation on how we can help establish your urban trees.