It might feel like most people plant their trees during the spring, but there are many advantages to planting trees in the fall. Instead of energy being spent on growing foliage, your tree will spend its energy on root establishment which causes less stress on the tree. Also, the soil has been warmed up all spring and summer long which makes it easier for you to plant and also less work for the tree. Warmer soil allows the tree to succesfully establish roots and gain nutrients before going dormant in the winter.
Here are some tips for planting your tree just right.
- Find a good location- does it need shade? Sun? Would it prefer more moist or more dry soil?
- Give it room to grow- dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the size of the pot.
- Remove the sapling- loosen the edges of the container and gently slide the tree out. Break apart the roots with your hands.
- Put the tree in position- the root flare (the place where the roots start to spread out from the trunk), should be flush with the soil line. Add a mixture of compost and soil to reach that height. Then place the tree in the hole, making sure it’s straight, and backfill. Lightly tap on the soil to remove air pockets.
- Mulch and hydrate- give your newly planted tree some water. Then top with a couple inches of mulch, leaving several inches of the space right around the trunk bare (to prevent rot). For the first few months, leave a hose running directly on the spot for about 10 minutes once a week.
If beautiful fall foliage is what you’re dreaming of in your own yard, then consider planting one of these trees.
- Sugar Maple- brilliant bright orange-red foliage. New York, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Vermont all claim it as their state tree.
- Quaking Aspen- stunning yellow fall color.
- Northern Red Oak- dark red foliage comes late August.