The ground has thawed. The days are growing long, and once days with comfortable temperatures are becoming more frequent, we are often asked by our customers, “When is the right time to plant trees and shrubs?”
The short answer to this question is that today is the right time to plant trees and shrubs, provided that the soil in the desired planting location is not frozen. In the Northfield area the soils are usually frost-free from about the first week of April until mid-November. This year, warm weather in March thawed the ground in most places by mid-March. As soon as the frost is gone from the soil to a depth of two feet, it is a good time to plant trees and shrubs.
In late March or early April, the soil may still be quite cold, but has thawed. Trees and shrubs do not suffer when planted into cold soils. They will start growing new shoots and new roots as soon as the soil warms a bit. They will be in place and ready to take advantage of every single day, every single hour of the 2016 growing season to establish vigorous new roots and vibrant growth of the above ground portion of the tree or shrub. The more days of growing season the new tree / shrub is in your landscape and growing – the better.
I’ve often heard people say they have heard that planting in the fall is best. If you are thinking now in early April of planting trees or shrubs this year, and decide to wait until late Sept. or October, your new plants will have 180 days less time to grow new roots. They will miss 5 or 6 months of our growing season when they would have been getting nicely established. That is missing almost the entire growing season. If you don’t have the time to plant in the spring or summer, most landscape plants can be installed safely in the fall (with a few exceptions) and they will begin growing as soon as spring hits the following April, but you do miss most of the current growing season.
If you have the time to plant in the spring or summer, it’s a good thing, since the plant materials will have part or all of the growing season to get a good start on becoming well established. If your soil is thawed, and you have the time to plant, the right time to plant is today! Try to choose a time when the soil is somewhat dry, to avoid compacting the soil. Excessively wet soil compacts easily and makes root extension difficult for your new trees or shrubs. Usually two or three days after a rain, soils are in good shape for planting!
In conclusion, the right time to plant trees and shrubs is today, if your soil has thawed and it is not too wet and soggy. I’ve already purchased a purchased a leyland cypress for this exact purpose, time to put my gloves on.
We are now open 7 days a week until mid-November!