Most authorities on trees agree that autumn
is the best time to plant trees, with early spring being also an
excellent time. However, autumn affords a few advantages. The dormant
trees experience no stress with planting, and many, such as apple and
pears, actually grow roots all winter long underground. This makes them
ready to really shoot out some strong growth come spring. There is
also no checking of growth as there often is with summer planting.
But, many ask, isn’t November or even DECEMBER way too late to plant? No, it’s actually not! It’s considered the best time to plant trees, according to the University of Kentucky.
The only trees you should WAIT until spring planting time for are: pawpaws, blackberries, peaches and other stone fruit. Pawpaws often do not survive autumn planting, and that’s why we don’t sell them during this time. Yet, autumn planting it optimal for many other trees.
Here’s how to do it right:
1) Plant quality dormant bare-root or potted trees!
2) Make sure those roots stay moist until you get them planted. Keep trees wrapped up from our nursery until ready to soak and plant. Make sure the roots of bare-root plants never dry out! Soak them in a bucket of water or kelp solution for 30-60 minutes before planting. Try to plant on a relatively warm, calm day without strong winds and not in freezing temps. Never dig or plant in sopping wet soil unless you absolutely have to. Wait 2-3 days for the soil to dry out so it’s not wet and muddy.
3) When planting, make sure the GRAFT UNION stays at least 3-4 inches above ground, and is not buried or in contact with the soil. The graft union is noticeable as a scarred area near the base or as a place where the tree juts outs from the base of the trunk.
4) When planting, spread roots out in all directions. Never cram, wrap or cut good roots. Only ever cut broken or snapped roots to just behind the broken area.
5) Gently refill the hole and tamp the soil down. GENTLY. Water with 2-3 gallons of water.
6) Install vole and deer protection if deer have even a slight presence on your site. See next blog post.
7) Mulch with wood chips, cardboard, straw, etc. Stake the tree in high-wind areas with a soft material used for tying the tree to the stake. Also stake M7 Dwarf apples.
8) That’s it! Fertilize 1x month starting in March-June with manure, compost, or whatever you prefer using.
Best Wishes with your planting!