Planting a Tree in the Fall 

 Originally Written: September 10, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

pycaab88What is a garden without trees? And as much as spring’s warmth and bright sunshine make your green thumbs tingle, it is good to know and to remember that fall is also an ideal time to plan new trees.

How to decide?

Fall Planting vs. Spring Planting:


  • Garden structure and growth pattern is clear – easy to see where a tree fits in
  • Cool weather is kind to new trees, avoiding stress of a hot, dry summer
  • Fall tree prices may be lower – but selection may be limited
  • Trees that are balled and burlapped or in containers should be planted in early fall to give them time to establish roots
  • Plant bare-root trees as late as possible so they stay dormant until spring
  • Make sure fall nursery stock hadn’t been neglected over the summer


  • Generally, the peak time for choice and selection
  • fresh stock is sure to be available in garden centres
  • Best time to plant trees that are not locally grown, to allow them to adjust to new climate conditions
  • Bare-root trees and tress balled and burlapped or in containers have planty of time to set their own roots
  • Extra care is needed during hot summer months – weekly watering is a must

Plating Pointers:

  • Dig a hole as deep as root ball and twice as wide
  • Unwind or remove any encircling roots
  • Plant of same depth as tree was grown (look for earth mark on the trunk)
  • Fertilize with a high mid-number fertilizer to get roots growing
  • Water, mulch and stake carefully

Choosing the Right Tree:

  • Check how much room you have – consider overhead electrical wires and nearby decks or paving
  • Take a good look at your garden – how big is it really? Oak trees, chesnut trees can become quite giant, check with your nursery or read up on how big the tree you are considering will grow.
  • Think about what you want your tree to do for you – give you shade, fall colour, spring flowers, fruit, etc.
  • Think about the shape your tree will grow into and picture it in your garden
  • If a low maintenance tree is important to you, stick to the native trees.

Hope you found this helpful to your gardening endevours – please add your comments, suggestions and tips – your input is always welcomed!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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