The Q&A Archives: Best time to plant trees

Question: I have 2 types of magnolia trees and an oak tree I need to plant. Several people have told me to wait but they don't agree on when I should plant them. Also, can you tell me the best way to plant them so I have a better chance of a successfu transplant?

Answer: The absolutely best times to plant new landscape trees and shrubs are when the air and soil temperatures are cool - spring or fall. This is usually when rainfall is abundant and plants are not growing as actively as in the summer months. All of these conditions mean less stress on your new trees. With that said, you can plant in the summer, but be prepared for some transplant stress and perhaps some dieback of leaves and stems. If you can wait until this fall, I think your trees will adjust more quickly. If you must plant now, be sure to keep them well watered until the roots establish themselves. The best way to plant is to dig a hole slightly deeper and wider than the nursery containers. Rough up the soil a bit and then lay the trees on their sides, pull off the nursery containers and set the rootmasses into the hole. You want the finished soil level to be the same as it was in the nursery container. You can untangle the roots if they are growing around and around in a circle. I usually place a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole and drape the roots over the soil so they drape over the mound in a natural way. Backfill over and around the roots and tamp the soil down, then water completely to help the soil settle and to remove air pockets that may have formed in the root mass. You can then build a watering basin or watering well beneath each tree by mounding up some soil. Water by filling the basin, allowing it to drain, then filling a second time. This will concentrate the moisture directly over the root system and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root mass. Do this once or twice a week (in hottest weather). Best wishes with your new trees.

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "Coreopsis"