Native Landscapes - Pawling NY

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Best Time Of Year To Plant

When is the best time of the year to plant trees, shrubs and perennials? This is one of the more frequently asked questions this time of year. Generally speaking, April and May is the best time to plant in our area. Spring plantings have all summer and fall to grow and acclimate.

The second best time to plant is September and October. In the fall, days are cooler, rain is more frequent and plants are headed into their dormant or hibernation period. I should add we can plant any time of the year as long as the ground is not frozen. When planting in the heat of the summer, add watering wells or bowls made from topsoil or mulch. These added water retainers will keep the moisture around the root zones or the base of the plant. There are a few exceptions to the fall planting rule. Over the years, I have found that some trees do not establish very well when planted in the fall. Most nut trees such as Oaks don’t transplant well. Also Birches have a tough time establishing when planted in the fall. Container plants have a better survivability rate than baled and burlap trees this time of the year. Plants in containers are less likely to go into transplanting shock in the fall landscape.

Here are some late season tips to ensure late season survivability. First, water frequently and deeply this time of year. Hydrating our fall plantings will help the plants survive the cold, dry winds in winter. Next, mulching the plants is important. By insulating the roots with a two inch layer of organic mulch this will help the plant roots survive the fluctuating warm to cold temperatures during our flicked winters. Also, lightly prune plants and remove broken, dead and weak branching structures so heavy ice and snow does not damage the plant. Caring for our plants until they have established will give us years of enjoyment.