Plant A Tree This Fall
Take Advantage of Autumn!
When thinking of Fall, most people imagine the leaves changing color and collecting along the ground after falling. What you may not know is that Fall is also the perfect time to add a tree to your landscape! Whether you plan to plant a shade tree, accent tree, or a privacy screener, don’t wait until the ground is too cold and hard to plant. Get started today!
Fall Makes Planting a Breeze
The many benefits that this season provides make planting a tree a no-brainer. Most importantly, temperature change plays a huge role, as lower temperatures decrease the risk of extreme heat stress on plants. Also, while the air chills, the soil actually still remains warm for several months. Warm soil means you should have no problem digging up a spot for your tree to call home.
Not only do the cooler days make it more comfortable for you to work in, but the combination of cool air and warm soil stimulates your tree’s root growth. This helps your tree establish its roots before Winter arrives. These roots will continue to grow through Winter until the ground finally freezes, while top growth ceases until Spring. As a result, come Spring time your tree will have better established roots in time for the plant to begin its top growth.
Increased reliability of Fall moisture also aids in root development. Consistent rainfall allows you to get your tree off to a good start with less effort than you would have to exhaust during hotter months. Transpiration is also low at this time, which helps trees retain moisture better and require less water. Finally, fewer pests and diseases plague trees during the Fall due to cooler temps and heightened rainfall. No bugs = happy tree!
All these beneficial conditions clearly highlight why Fall is the perfect time to plant. So grab your shovel, and let’s talk about the steps you should take to add that beautiful tree to your landscape.
It’s Planting Time!
Select Your Species
First, select what tree best suits your landscape. Do you want something to block the neighbor’s view? Try choosing some privacy screening evergreens like Cypress, Arborvitae, Spruce, or Douglas Fir. Deciduous tree varieties make for fantastic focal points, especially with their stunning Fall color. They, too can provide plenty of privacy, but also shade for your home or backyard. Consider Birch, Elm, Oak, Maple, and Sycamore. Fruit and Flowering Trees actually benefit more from Springtime planting, so hold off until then to plant those.
Pick a Spot and Dig
Depending on the growth potential of your new trees, you want to leave ample space between plantings for them to spread their wings. When purchasing your plants from our stores, be sure to read our care card’s information or speak to one of our team members to know their exact maximum growth. Either way, always do your research.
Avoid planting too close to your home or other buildings, as you can cause damage to them or the tree’s roots. Be considerate of your neighbors as well! Trees planted too close to their property line may grow over into their yard in the long run. Inspect the soil to make sure your tree will thrive in its new home. You can always have your soil pH tested in any one of our Home & Garden Stores. After you establish that the spot you selected provides the perfect setting for your tree, it’s time to plant!
- Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and the same depth. The root ball should be slightly higher than ground level when placed in the hole.
- As you dig, transfer the soil into a wheelbarrow and combine with a planting mix (50/50 ratio).
- Also, add starter fertilizer into the mix (and add a little in the bottom of the dug out hole).
- Place your tree and start to refill the hole. Add your soil mixture bit by bit and pat down with your feet.
- Before you add too much soil, remove the twine and burlap from around the root ball.
- Fold the burlap down, though do not remove the burlap from your tree. Then, continue to add soil.
- Finally, add a layer of mulch about 2” deep. Always leave a gap around the trunk of the tree.
- For a tree sold in a container, follow the same steps with one addition:
- Before you place your tree in the hole, remove your plant from the container and “rough up” the roots that have conformed to the shape of the container.
H2O is Key
When first planted, your tree is very thirsty! Maintain a consistent schedule, providing your tree with a considerable amount of water. As your tree establishes, be sure to water 2-3 times per week, with regards to weather and your soil condition. Aim for a substantial soaking, though infrequent. The farther into Fall, the less water your tree will need each week. Mulching helps a great deal with moisture retention, so be sure to follow that previously stated step.
Although diseases are less prevalent in the Fall, over-watering can subject your tree to root rot, so always follow the recommended schedule.
When is it Too Late to Plant?
Avoid waiting too long to plant your new trees. November in December present increased risk of failure, mostly due to a lower chance that roots will establish. One good rule to follow is that if you still see leaves on your current trees, you still have time to plant new ones! You can also check that your soil temperatures are still consistently above 50 degrees. For Evergreens, ensure that the soil remains above 60 degrees, as they require all the soil nutrients that they can get before the ground freezes in Winter.
The key season for planting is roughly Mid-August through Mid-October, with some extension on either end depending on temperatures.
Benefits of Fall Planting
Overall, you won’t find any negatives to adding trees to your landscape. Here are some reasons you should consider planting a new tree this Fall:
- Beautify the Environment
Trees add texture and color to the landscape. They soften the harsh lines of buildings and driveways, while their foliage and blooms add seasonal color changes and variety.
- Stabilize Soil
Tree roots prevent soil from blowing or washing away, minimizing erosion and providing protection for the surrounding landscape.
- Provide Wildlife Habitat
Trees provide shelter and food for birds and numerous small animals, including squirrels, chipmunks, insects and more.
- Make Food
Many trees provide fruits, nuts, seeds, sap and berries for human consumption. Wildlife will also rely on the food provided by trees.
- Create Oxygen
Through photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other poisons from our air and release pure oxygen for us to breathe. One tree can produce enough oxygen for 10 humans for one year!
- Filter the Air
Trees act as giant filters trapping dust and pollution particles with their leaves and bark until the rain washes the particles away.
- Cool the Air
Air will remain several degrees cooler in the shade of a tree canopy. This is accomplished by not only by blocking the sun’s rays but also through transpiration. Tree leaves transpire, or release moisture, which cools the surrounding air. A large tree can release as much as 400 gallons of moisture from its leaves daily.
- Reduce Utility Bills
Deciduous trees planted on the south and southwest sides of a home will shade the structure during hot summer months and reduce air conditioning or other cooling needs. In the winter, with the leaves fallen, the sun is able to warm the structure, reducing heating bills.
- Reduce Noise Pollution
Strategically planted, trees can dramatically reduce the volume of unwanted noise from loud neighbors, nearby businesses or car traffic.
- Hide Undesirable Views
Purposefully sited, trees can camouflage unattractive views and create privacy, providing a natural sanctuary in your yard.
Now is the Time!
Hurry in to any of our Home & Garden stores now to see our fantastic selection of trees that you can plant now.
Talk to any of our team members for tips about planting and caring for your new trees, as well as to get suggestions on which varieties to choose.