Get Rooted: Fall is the time for trees and shrubs

The temperature outside may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean planting season is over. Now is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs.

When planted in the spring, trees and shrubs are rushed to build strong roots before the summer heat arrives. By planting in the fall, you’ll give your trees and shrubs a head start for next summer. With proper care, these plants can establish strong roots before the cold winter weather arrives.

There are other reasons that make fall the perfect time for planting new trees and shrubs:

  • The cooler temperatures benefit gardeners as it becomes more comfortable to work outside.
  • Even with the decrease in air temperature, soil will remain warm through October.
  • There is also still plenty of sunshine for your new plants.
  • Competition with weeds is greatly reduced.

Of course, there are still a few things gardeners can do to ensure their trees and shrubs get off to a good start:

  • Dig a hole 18 inches wider and no deeper than the root ball. The hole should be deep enough that only the top of the root ball is slightly above the soil surface.
  • If your tree or shrub’s roots are compacted, use a knife to make short slits down the side and bottom of the root ball to encourage spread.
  • Use soil amendments including Espoma Bio-Tone Starter Plus in your backfill soil. As you fill the hole, press down on the soil to remove air pockets.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree or shrub. Mulch should be two – three inches deep. Be careful to keep mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk of your plant.
  • Water your plant so that the root ball and soil are thoroughly soaked. Continue to water your new tree or shrub with at least an inch of water per week until the ground is frozen (sometime in December). Slow watering works best as it gets into the root ball without being wicked away by the surrounding soil.

New trees and shrubs can instantly change the landscape of your yard. They can even increase your property value. Take advantage of this fall season and plant new trees or shrubs before winter arrives.

For more helpful tips on trees and shrubs, check out our Planting Guide.