We’re often asked at Warner’s what is the best time to plant a tree, and the short answer of course is any time the ground is not frozen, because trees are awesome and the more of them we can get the better.
But, in looking at this topic a little more closely, we’d have to give Fall the edge. And by Fall we mean when the worst of the summer heat is over, the nights are cooler and the ground is wetter.
This is particularly true in places like northern Arizona where we typically get the bulk of our monsoon rains in July and August (obviously this year was not typical).
So why do trees planted in the fall flourish? There’s a few reasons:
- Trees “concentrate” on growing roots in the Fall. During the spring, a lot of a tree’s energy is spent on its foliage and producing fruit or leaves. As the summer fades, that energy is transferred to the tree’s network of roots.
- Cool (but not frozen) soil encourages root growth.
- The cooler days also mean the tree is less likely to go into “shock” from hot temperatures and also that new tender leaves won’t get scorched by the sun
There’s also an argument that you don’t have to water as much when your tree is planted in the fall and while that’s somewhat true, you really can’t ignore good watering, as I mentioned in my last blog.
Remember, trees don’t really fully establish their root systems until four years in, so in years two and three, you’ll want to water two to three times a week during the spring through the fall, dropping down to once a week after the tree is established. During the winter, your watering can drop off to about once every three to four weeks.
Regardless of when you plant your tree, spring or fall, your home and life will benefit. Trees mean more oxygen, increased value to your home, reduced energy costs depending on where you plant your tree, and the calming affect trees have shown to have in numerous studies.
Plus you’ll be creating another home for birds and other critters to enjoy, so you’ll be adding to the natural ecosystem of your neighborhood.
If you have any questions about trees – or any other gardening issues – please feel free to ask our experts here at Warner’s Nursery. We are happy to help.