Fall: it’s a beautiful time to rake leaves, carve pumpkins, and…plant trees?
Yes, in fact it is. There are a few very good reasons why fall is a good time for planting trees. Whether you want to boost your curb appeal or do your part for the planet, fall is actually the ideal time to plant trees. Read on to learn why.
Why plant trees in the fall
Fall in Illinois is the Goldilocks of our seasons: not too warm, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry. Consider these reasons for planting trees in the fall:
- Ideal growing conditions. The soil is still warm from the summer. Even better, cooler air temperatures reduce the rate of water evaporation. This combination gives newly planted trees an excellent chance to develop strong root systems before winter sets in.
- Less stress. Trees planted in the fall experience less transplant shock, again because of milder soil conditions. Cooler temperatures help them direct resources to root growth without having to contend with scorching heat from the summer sun.
- A head start on next year. Planting trees in the fall gives them a head start for next spring’s growing season. By the time warmer weather arrives, your trees will have an established root system and be ready to put sunshine and rain into new growth.
A step-by-step guide to planting trees in the fall
Ready to add a new tree or two to your yard? Follow this step-by-step guide to successful tree planting in the fall.
- Choose the right spot. Select a spot that will be big enough for a mature tree and that will provide sufficient sunlight. Avoid planting too close to other trees or structures like your home or garage.
- Prepare the soil. Dig a hole twice the width and depth of the tree’s root ball. Loosen the soil around the hole’s edges to help the tree’s roots spread.
- Get ready to plant. Remove the tree from its container or burlap wrapping and place its root ball in the hole, making sure that the top is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with soil.
- Mulch and water. Mulch around the base of the tree but leave 2 to 3” around the base of the trunk. Mulch helps the tree retain moisture and also helps suppress weed growth. Water the tree deeply after planting. Continue to water regularly until the ground freezes; trees rely on stored water later in the season.
The first year of your tree’s growth is an important period. Avoid pruning as it will stress the tree while it establishes roots. Remove only damaged or diseased branches.
If your tree is tall and slender, consider staking it to prevent it from high winds and winter storms. Use soft materials to tie the tree to the stake, which will create flexibility for natural movement.
Choosing the right tree for planting in the fall
It’s as important to choose the right species of tree as it is to choose the right spot. Choose trees that are native to your area, as these are well-adapted to local climate and soil conditions.
Be sure to consider the mature size of the tree. Some fast-growing trees like silver maples, red maples, sycamores, and cottonwoods will grow quickly. It’s important to envision how your tree will look when mature to make sure it will not outgrow its space or threaten power lines, your home, or other trees on or near your property. Also carefully consider the soil conditions in your yard, as some trees prefer well-drained soil while some do fine in wetter conditions.
Looking for guidance on when to plant trees, and what species to choose? We can help. Advanced Tree Care combines top-notch equipment, cutting-edge technology, and well-trained staff to provide emergency tree removal and tree maintenance services. With a presence in nine counties and two states, we work daily to provide unparalleled customer service, safety, and efficiency—as well as the expertise to beautify your landscaping and community. Advanced Tree Care isn’t just our name—it’s also our purpose!