A lot of homeowners we meet ask us about tree planting in the winter versus the spring. Our advice is to always go ahead and plant them. While it is late in the season to plant them, your trees will be happier once placed in the ground. You do want to keep an eye on the weather while considering planting. Trees really do need time to establish roots before a heavy freeze. The plantings might look pitiful now but once the weather warms up, they will start looking happy!
Some things to remember while late-season planting:
- Don’t stimulate growth: You can add a little compost but hold off on fertilizer until spring.
- Don’t bug your plants: The gentler you are while planting, the better. Trees don’t have time to recover from damage in winter so don’t stress it out more.
- Keep plants watered: The worst part of cold damage is caused by drying out. Keep new trees watered every week or two until the ground freezes, and especially right before a heavy freeze.
- Apply Mulch: Adding mulch to your newly planted trees will help keep them insulated. If the trees you’ve chosen are cold-sensitive, you may want to try wrapping them at night.
If the ground is too hard due to the cold, you can place your trees in a sheltered spot and continue to water every few days. When the plant growth starts in spring, they should be ready for planting!