Q. Are there advantages to planting trees in the fall?
Fall officially begins with the autumnal equinox in late September, however for planting purposes, once we pass Labor Day we consider it fall planting season. Many people incorrectly assume that the growing season ends with the onset of fall. In fact, quite to the contrary, the growing season continues well into fall. Here in lies the key reason that fall is such a good time to plant trees, it is the season of active root growth.
Trees installed in fall will establish themselves into the landscape long after they have shed their seasonal leaves. This establishment occurs in a time that homeowners are required to water less and develops trees that are ready to flourish the next season. Additionally, with an established root system, trees installed this fall will be far more resistant to damage and/or stress that may develop if we experience a mid-season drought or insect infestation next year.
While it is true that many species can’t be transplanted in the fall, all species can be planted. What this means is that we can’t dig a Magnolia for example from our fields now, however a spring dug Magnolia that is properly cared for in our holding yard can be installed into your landscape in the fall achieving the same benefits as described above.
As for how late to plant, it depends heavily on the property and the species. Evergreen trees should typically go in no later than mid-November unless the weather is mild and the ground is far from holding front. For deciduous trees most varieties are fine to plant all the way to Thanksgiving.
ask an expert Eric D. Bruss, APLD is the owner of Bruss Landscaping, Inc. Bruss landscaping has been providing high quality landscape design and installation services to the area since 1952. Please contact Bruss Landscaping at (630) 665-1600, www.bruss landscaping.com, or visit our display gardens at 1607 E. Roosevelt Road in Wheaton