Planting Trees in Fall

Father and son planting

A tree is a wonderful addition to any yard. Trees can help to keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Not only are they beautiful, but they can also have amazing mental health benefits, and even increase the value of your home.

Trees are also usually a larger investment than, say, flowers or a shrub, and so you want to make sure that when you pick a tree to plant a tree, it will survive. You’ll need to choose the right tree, plant it at the right time, and nurture it well to ease the transition.

The Right Time to Plant

Specialists are divided on whether it’s best to plant a tree in the spring or fall. If planted in spring, a tree will have a good amount of time to establish its root system and store up what it needs for winter. However, being planted in the spring can also cause a tree to struggle through that year’s growth. While it’s in a stressed and vulnerable situation, it’s expected to also blossom and grow leaves.

That’s why the fall can also be a great time for your tree to be introduced to the soil. Roots grow best in chilly (but not freezing) weather. This is partly because in the chilly weather, the tree drops its leaves, and so water and other resources don’t have to go towards maintaining the leaves. Instead, all the efforts get directed towards root growth. This way, your tree is given time to establish itself before the winter freeze, but will be well-rested and comfortable before spring growth.

Here in Utah, especially, fall planting can be helpful because of how hot and dry our summers are. However, it might depend on which species of tree you choose, so consult with us and/or your garden supply center.

Caring for Your Tree

Once your tree is newly planted in the yard, there are some steps that you should take in order to make sure that it settles into its new home comfortably. It’s going to require a little bit of babying until it’s sent down strong roots.

  • Fertilize: As your tree is putting down roots, it can use some extra nutrition. You can find plenty of tree fertilizer options at any garden supply store.
  • Mulch: Placing mulch around the base of your new tree will help you to protect the tree from heat, and retain moisture after you water it.
  • Water: A newly planted tree will need extra water. In order to help it establish deep roots, water infrequently, but deeply.

Before winter comes, take measures to protect it from seasonal damage. For some species, wrapping the trunk or creating a windscreen can be helpful. You also might want to put some mesh around the trunk in order to protect it from rooting and foraging animals in the cold weather.


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