Moving & Planting Trees

By Shawn McClain

Spring planting gives the trees all summer to grow and get ready for winter. Developing leaves to make food for the plant and new roots. Both of these growth processes require sugar reserves that are stored in the roots and stems. Trying to grow both leaves and stems at the same time is taxing for the plant and can cause the processes to suffer. A limited root system, can also create problems getting enough water causing the newly planted tree to drop some or all their leaves after planting. They are unable to actively absorb enough water, requiring routine watering to compensate during dry periods.


Fall planting allows the trees a chance to grow roots in the fall and again in the early spring before leaf development. Water requirements are lower but still needed. Soil temperatures for root growth are at its best range. Giving the trees a good chance to lay down roots to aid in water and nutrients for the leaves in the spring. Providing that the trees did not sit around for months in a nursery with limited roots and water before planting.

The best time to plant is certainly influenced by the gardeners’ care and site location of the tree. Deciduous trees are mostly planted when a fall planting occurs. To be successful in the fall adequate water needs to occur up to the time the ground freezes. Newly planted trees should have regular watering during the first year to minimize transplant plant shock. Another key to success is the mulch. Adding 2-3-inch layer of wood chips will hold the moisture in around the roots.

To learn more about how to plant trees:

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