By: Ron Gumz, Certified Arborist MN-0324A
When I am meeting with clients, I am often asked “Do you plant trees?” The answer is a resounding yes! There are many reasons why people tend to ask this question and are looking to plant new trees in their yard:
- To increase wildlife activity in their yard
- To create visual interest
- To increase plant diversity
- To replace trees that needed to be removed
- Or to try something new
The next question I often hear is, “When is a good time to plant a tree?” As an ancient Chinese Proverb states “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” This is an interesting thought, too bad we can’t go back in time. A more reasonable option is to plant during the upcoming autumn season.
Planting in fall offers a number of advantages. Since the heat of summer has passed, the fall offers the tree reduced amounts of moisture stress after the installation process. The digging process alone puts a tremendous amount of stress on a tree and probably ranks as the number one most stressful period of a tree’s lifetime. This is mainly due to the unavoidable root loss during the process. Fall planting helps to reduce the overall stress levels in a new tree.
Another benefit of planting at this time of year comes in the form of cooler temperatures that autumn provides. These cooler highs and lows allow irrigation efforts to last longer in the soil around the tree. This equates to easier upkeep for the new tree. We could all use a little extra time couldn’t we?
By planting in the fall, it also allows a new tree ample opportunity to develop its root system. Even during the time in the fall when the air temperatures are lower, the soil temperatures stay relatively warmer for a longer time period. This allows the tree to start developing roots during the fall it is installed. Then during the following spring, the tree also can continue developing roots as soon as the spring season allows. There are some trees however, like conifers, that need to be installed in the early fall.
So if you are considering putting a new tree in your yard, now is a fine time to get this lined up. I have talked with clients who are eagerly waiting for when they will get their new tree installed in the fall with the benefits listed above. Plan ahead so you can make use of this opportunity!