Planting Trees in the Fall

when is the best time in Canada to plant trees
 
One of the most common garden center questions is, and will always be, when is the best time to plant trees? The funniest answer I have ever heard was "20 years ago", which makes sense! The real answer, however, has changed slightly over the years because of how plants are harvested and shipped from nurseries. 
 
Many years ago trees were dug and shipped during the cooler temperatures of either spring or fall and the biggest reason was that they were all dug out of the ground and transported with exposed roots. This goes back a long time now but many people still will ask their grandparents for advice on when to plant. Their usual response of spring or fall is still the best answer but bear with me. There are some exceptions.
 
When the feeder roots, which are the small thin roots, have been freshly cut/removed to make plants lighter and easier to transport they have a harder time after planting picking up moisture if the temperature is too hot. In the cooler weather of spring and fall, trees require less moisture to support leaves and have more time for roots to regenerate, creating new feeder roots. These feeder roots are especially helpful when trying to support new leaves in spring and will also become stabilizing roots that create new feeder roots as the tree matures.
 
 
A caliper tree is the common name for larger trees you see with wire baskets around the roots. They are often dug at the nursery in the spring, wrapped with burlap, and held together with a wire basket. When they do this the trees are then put back in their hole, protecting the roots from the elements, and are ready for spring shipping and planting. If trees are not needed until summer, they will have some time to root regenerate and can usually deal with the hotter temperatures of summer but care is usually taken to keep the root zone shaded in transportation. Summer watering must also be managed more carefully. They also dig some trees in the fall for early spring planting. It is not always a good idea to dig a tree in the summer and transplant it but some trees will tolerate it more than others but not usually recommended. 
 
At local garden centers, however, you will find many trees in pots. In most cases, like trees grown by Bylands, they will have been what the horticultural industry calls, container-grown. Most of these trees start their life in the ground but after a few years are transplanted into various sized pots. While in their pot, new roots will begin to grow before they are sent to your local garden center. With trees grown in this fashion, it has opened up the planting season to spring, summer and fall. It is almost like you are not transplanting the tree anymore but just moving it to a larger pot, the hole in the ground.   
 
 
It is still not the best idea to transport and plant a tree in the stressful heat of the day. When trees are well-rooted it is a good idea to help separate the roots from the container shape or use a sharp knife to break up the root ball. This keeps the roots from growing in the circular shape of the pot. Ask your local garden center about preparing the root ball and fertilization at the time of purchase. If planting in the fall, usually late August to the start of October, is okay but check the long-range forecast because it is a good idea to have a couple of weeks above freezing for the tree to prepare for winter.   
 
Happy Gardening!   
 
For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on FacebookTwitter,YouTubeInstagram and Pinterest for other tips and hints.

 

 

Rich

Guest post by Rich - Bylands Account Representative

My personal garden is now 23 years old and most of the trees 25 years. shrubs, evergreens and perennial beds are all bordered with large sandstone boulders. Two reasons I have had to replant each year are: Shasta Daisy was a white German Shepherd and Georgia Peach is a caramel with white and black Shepherd, Husky something cross. My dogs are always named after plants.