A Time to Plant Trees

At the nursery this time of year, the question most asked is “Can I plant right now?”.  The April 12th article in the Northfield News shares Leif’s thoughts….. 

As winter ever so slowly transitions to spring, many people think about planting trees.  Spring has been a traditional tree planting time, and remains an excellent period for installing the trees that will make your property more beautiful with each passing year.

 The biggest advantage of planting at the beginning of the season is that your new trees will have an entire growing season to grow new roots and become established for more vigorous growth in subsequent years.  You can’t get strong growth without first growing a large network of new roots, and each additional week the tree has during the season to grow new roots means the tree is better prepared for the next year and the year after.

 Another advantage of early season planting is the dormant condition of the trees, and the cool temperatures.  Dormant trees can wake up slowly once they have been planted which reduces stress.  Cool temperatures mean less demand for moisture on a relatively small root system.  By the time hotter temperatures arrive, a tree planted early in the season has already grown some new roots, and can more easily draw moisture and nutrition from the soil.

 A third advantage of spring tree planting is the wide selection typically available at your favorite nursery.  By the last week of April, most nurseries are fully stocked with their largest inventory of the season.

 Having a wide variety of tree types and sizes to pick from is great, provided you can get the right information and assistance to make the choices that are best for you and your particular property.  Seek out a source for your trees where you can get not only a big selection, but even more important, knowledgeable help from the sales people.  Good nurseries have trained and certified nursery professionals on staff to help you make the best choices

 If you have the best of intentions to get trees planted this spring, but just don’t get around to doing it, don’t despair.  You can have good success planting any time from April through November if you just make sure to provide the trees with their basic needs, and use good planting techniques.

 Trees that are properly established in plastic nursery pots are easy to handle and plant, have plenty of root mass, and are relatively affordable, with a wide variety of sizes and prices.  If you select potted trees be sure to root prune aggressively prior to planting, and keep in mind that container trees need frequent waterings in modest quantities.  These trees can do well even when planted in the heat of summer or as the season winds down in the fall.

 Balled and burlapped trees can also be planted throughout the entire season and they offer you a chance to select bigger trees.  The larger size and heavier weights of balled and burlapped trees means more effort planting, but the larger size gives more immediate results, and the need for less frequent watering.  These too, can be planted throughout the entire season.

For really instant impact, even larger trees planted with truck mounted tree spades can give you a really nice look the day the planting is done.  Spring is a very good time to plant these larger trees, so don’t delay in contacting your favorite nursery professional if you want some instant gratification.

Plant Spotlight:           Autumn Blaze Maple.  In recent decades, no new tree variety has gained such wide popularity as this outstanding hybrid maple.  The reasons are clear:  Very good growth rates, excellent orange/red fall color that is reliable from one year to the next, versatility in many soil types, conditions and climates, and lovely upright oval shape of generous proportions.  Be sure to aggressively prune this variety.  By doing this you will create a strong structure that will provide years of beauty and durability in tough weather.