The Best Time of Year to Plant Trees and Shrubs
A question we get often is “When is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs?” While it’s a good question, most people have different opinions as do I and here’s what I think from my experience and research. I usually answer that question as any time between October and March.
I suppose if there is any best month to plant it would be November. Plants, especially trees, are in or going into dormancy in late fall. During this dormancy period plants will stop producing foliage or lose their foliage altogether so the energy it has can be focused of its root system to stay alive through the cold winter months. Also, during this time when transplanting plants there is a lot less chance of the plant going through shock. When a plant is dug it’s feeder roots that reach out beyond the size of the root ball, are usually cut and can cause the plant to go into a sort of shock. If the root ball is properly cared for when being dug and transplanted it will survive this occurrence.
If a plant is properly dug and replanted, there is no reason why a plant will not do well if planted anytime during the fall and winter months. During this time the plant will require little to no watering. When the soil temperatures start to rise in March the plant will already have had a chance to get use to its new location and easily put out new feeder roots and be prepared for the hot summer months.
Some people think winter is not a good time to plant as its too cold. Which is true in regions where the ground freezes. Its just to difficult to dig frozen earth. But in the Atlanta area we don’t typically have cold enough winters to freeze the ground. And with rising temps, it even more unlikely.
Technically you can plant trees and shrubs year-round in our North Georgia region. The summer months are a tough time as the heat will stress many plants as does transplanting so the plant will be getting a double shot of stress. We don’t recommend planting during the months of July and August. These are the hottest and sometimes driest months in Atlanta. If you have automatic irrigation, that will help the plants survival rate, especially during the hotter months.
Being a landscape contractor we especially like that we can plant through the winter months as there is no way we could plant all the plants that our clients have contracted us to do in just a one or two-month time frame. We enjoy that we can work year-round without laying off our staff.