While modern methods of raising and packaging trees for use in the landscape have enabled homeowners and landscapers alike to successfully plant trees all season long, there is no doubt that spring is thought of as prime time for tree planting.
Once a tree has been properly planted, the name of the game is enabling the tree to quickly grow and establish the largest root system possible. A bigger root system sooner equals faster tree growth sooner after planting. Spring planting helps trees grow bigger root systems sooner for several reasons.
When you plant dormant trees, they are internally programmed to put a great deal of their energy into growing roots quickly during the early part of the growing season. As soon as the buds swell in preparation for leafing out, hormones secreted by the buds travel to the root tips and trigger an explosion of root growth. If good quality uncompacted soil surrounds the root ball of the tree, new roots can quickly extend into this favorable soil during the spring, setting the stage for better tree growth in the years ahead.
I have personally seen tree roots grow outward at the rate of an inch or more a day when conditions are perfect. Trees will successfully establish in summer or fall, but spring brings together the nice cool weather, internal programming for rapid root growth and the entire length of the growing season to continue the extension of the size of the root system. When combined with uncompacted soil, moderate fertilization and adequate but not excessive watering, spring planted trees are a step ahead.
I will also be sharing this blog with the Northfield News.