How to Grow: Fall Tree Planting

Learn how to select the right trees and plant them in fall.

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You see the signs up at many garden centers this time of year. “Fall sale on all trees and shrubs, 50% off, 70% off, we’ll pay you to take them away!” Each fall garden centers want to move out theiSeedlings, Plants, Treesr old plant stock so they don’t have to over-winter the trees and shrubs in their yard. It’s a great opportunity to snatch up some deals on some good looking plants.

Fall is a good time of year to plant deciduous trees and shrubs and evergreens, with some precaution. Roots will continue to grow until the soil’s temperature dips below 40F. Deciduous plants have no leaves, so there’s no need for the roots to send water to the shoots.

The caveat is with evergreens. They continue to transpire moisture through their leaves and needles into winter. If the roots haven’t had a chance to get established in fall, the leaves may not have enough moisture to stay alive. You’ll end up with those sad brown evergreens we sometimes see in spring. You can plant evergreens this time of year, but it’s best to protect them. Wrap burlap around the tree or shrub to block the drying, winter winds. It’s often the winds that cause more damage than the cold temperatures. Spray an anti-desiccant spray on the needles and leaves in late fall as long as the temperatures are above 40F. Reapply it during a warm spell in January or February to be really effective. So, get buying, but be smart about planting.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio