Fall Is the Best Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs

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When it comes to trees and shrubs, it’s fall, not spring, that is the ideal time to plant.

With cool temperatures and increased rainfall, roots have time to establish in warm soil before the ground freezes, getting a head start on spring.

Gardening in moderate temperatures places less stress on you and makes outdoor work pleasant. Plus, planting now means one less task to do next spring. 

Planting a Tree or Shrub in Fall:

  1. Pick the right plant for the right spot. Take into consideration sun, shade and how much space the mature plant will need. A Garden Center associate can help you determine the best plant for your conditions. 
  2. Dig a hole 3-4 times as wide but no deeper than the container. You want to make it easy for the roots to grow outward. 
  3. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. 
  4. Ease the plant out of the pot. Gently loosen roots, being careful not to damage them. 
  5. Set the plant in the hole so the place where the trunk meets the roots is at the soil line — not too high and not too deep. Spread the roots out. 
  6. Fill halfway with soil and lightly tamp to eliminate air pockets. Replace the remaining soil and tamp again. 
  7. Build a shallow saucer of soil with a 3” lip around the perimeter of the hole to contain water. 
  8. Water gently and deeply. 
  9. Mulch around the plant, keeping the mulch away from the trunk. Do not mound mulch like a volcano. It can kill the tree or shrub. 
  10. Water regularly the first year, even during winter warm spells if the soil isn’t frozen. 

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