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How to Successfully Plant a Tree This Fall

How does the old saying go? The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the next best time is today. 

The fall is the absolute very best time to get them in the ground. So, grab your mug of hot apple cider, and your scarf. It’s time to plant a tree!

Before I get into the important details, let me explain why fall is the best time for planting trees.

First, this season offers the maximum amount of time for new plants to settle before the heat and stress of next summer.

Secondly, the cooler air above ground is kinder to plant foliage. Beneath the surface, soil temperatures are still warm which helps to provide an excellent environment to stimulate new root growth. 

A third benefit to fall planting is that trees and other plants are entering a period of dormancy. Without the need to allocate energy into foliage, plants now shift their energy into root development. 

Of course, don’t just plant a tree and forget about it. There is still work to be done. For the best chance of success, we made you a list to follow:   

1. Prepare the proper planting hole.

With trees, it’s best to dig a hole 2-3 times as wide as the root ball. The hole should also be no deeper than the root ball. Look for the ‘collar” of the tree (where the root and trunk meet) and keep that near the soil level.

Don’t place the tree in the planting hole so deep that any part of that collar is covered with soil. 

2. Inspect the roots but do not disturb them.

For trees in containers, gently slide the root ball out of the pot and into the hole. For burlap protected trees, place the root ball in the hole and gently cut away the wire basket and burlap.

3. Eliminate air pockets.

Be sure to lightly tamp or hand-pack the soil around the plant roots to ensure good soil to root contact. Add water to the hole after backfilling halfway. Not only does it provide needed moisture but also the water helps eliminate air pockets that could otherwise result in dead roots.

4. Add mulch.

Place about three inches of organic matter like wood mulch around the tree. Mulch helps retain much-needed moisture and helps keep roots cooler near the surface.

5. Keep watering.

The most important job you will have after planting is to keep your tree well-watered until established. Water once a week in cool weather and twice a week in hot and windy weather as needed.

Keep this up for 4-5 weeks. Then, continue this watering schedule through summer and into fall over the next year. Check the soil often to ensure you’re keeping the tree healthy and happy.

Final Thoughts:

If I haven’t already sold you on planting a new tree this fall, let me give you one more reason. At Fora Outdoor Living, we carry a wide variety of trees, plants, and shrubs and on September 9th, 2021, our Dutch Auction event begins.

All perennials, trees, and shrubs will be 30% off and the price only goes lower from there.

Visit us in-store, online, or give us a call for more information.

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