Time's running out for fall planting

Fall is the best time to plant many trees, especially shade trees, and shrubs. All their energy will go into the root formation that will help them thrive for years to come, rather than into making new leaves.

In the fall, many trees enter a phase called dormancy. During dormancy, no growth occurs in the upper branches and attention is given to growing a stronger root system. This stronger root system will better support foliage growth in the spring.

During the period from mid-August to mid-October, moderate and relatively stable air temperatures prevail, and soil temperatures and moisture levels are usually in a range that promote rapid root development. Watering new trees properly in the fall is just as important as any season—new trees need to get enough water before the ground freezes.

Notable tree species that can be successfully planted in the fall include:
  • maple
  • buckeye or horsechestnut
  • catalpa
  • hackberry
  • hawthorn
  • ash
  • honeylocust
  • Kentucky coffeetree
  • crabapple
  • Amur corktree
  • spruce
  • pine
  • sycamore
  • linden
Most deciduous shrubs are also easily planted in fall.

Fall planting takes advantage of favorable soil temperatures and moisture conditions that promote the root growth needed to sustain plants through their critical first year in the landscape. If healthy, vigorous plants are chosen, proper post-planting care is given and slow-to-establish species are avoided, fall planting of trees and shrubs can be as successful as spring planting.

Plant away, friends!

photo by friggy_30 flickr creative commons

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