We generally think of spring- a time of new growth and life- as the time to plant everything including trees & shrubs.
However, cooler temperatures make fall an excellent time to plant.
The soil is warmer than in the spring, and many of us actually have more time to devote to planting trees and shrubs in the fall, when we aren’t so preoccupied with our annuals and vegetables.
Fall is a great time to plant, because it gives your new plants time to settle in and gives them a jump start over anything planted next spring.
There are some special considerations to keep in mind when planting trees & shrubs in the fall.
- Plant while the soil is still warm (Soil temp. 6″ deep should be above 55 degrees Farenheit) to encourage strong root growth and development. Typically, our soil maintains warm temperatures into mid-October, even after the air is much colder.
- Container-grown trees, (such as all trees available at Fort Collins Nursery), transplant much better than bare-root or recently dug balled-and-burlapped stock.
- Keep newly planted trees & shrubs well watered (but not over watered) until they drop their leaves, and then water them deeply once a month throughout the winter.
- Young thin-barked trees should be wrapped in late October/early November with a breathable wrap to prevent frost cracks, animal damage, and sunscald. Wrap the trunks with wither paper tree wrap or rigid plastic that allows for air movement. Remove the wrap no later than early/mid March. Trees that have developed the coarse craggy bark typically associated with mature trees do not need to be wrapped in the winter.
Fall planted trees and shrubs can be very successful in your landscape if you follow the simple guidelines above.
Plus, with season ending clearance sales commonplace in the fall, this is the best time to get those bigger ticket items at discounts you won’t find any other time of year.
Originally published on August 24th, 2011. Updated on September 4th, 2018.