Planting Trees in Winter?!?

12/28/2018 | Ken Davis Evergreen Trees, In the Garden, Trees, Winter

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Generally, the best time for planting trees is late winter through early spring.
Typically this period is followed by a season of moderate weather, giving new transplants time to become established.  For gardens above 6500 feet, autumn may make for easier planting only because the ground is not frozen.  Readers of this column garden at varying elevations, so:  If the ground isn’t frozen solid, plant those trees!

Detailed How-To for Planting Trees:
 Dormancy usually begins in autumn when leaves turn color.  There is a chill in the evening air, days are short, and frost often is witnessed in the early morn.  Dormancy lasts until the first flower or leaf buds break in spring.  Trees are in stasis at this time; alive, but their functions are in slow motion.  This is the ideal time to add new trees and shrubs to the landscape because the risk of transplant shock is reduced significantly. 

Trees Autumn Forest Autumn Deciduous Trees

Deciduous trees are those that show their beautiful fall colors followed by bare limbs through early spring. These are indications that trees are dormant and can be transplanted easily. During this winter season, successful planting is pretty much assured.

Evergreens display their foliage the year ’round, so their ideal planting season can be trickier to determine. They don’t undergo the kind of dormancy deciduous plants do, but they, too, don’t grow vigorously in winter, so their preference also is for a winter planting.  Watch the seasonal transitions of deciduous trees as their best planting season is suited to evergreens as well.  Evergreens are planted most successfully before they break dormancy and new needles elongate forming next spring’s branching.  Depending on mountain weather this can be as early as March. 

Why Now???
Arid spring winds followed by scorching June heat increase risk for trees planted post-dormancy.  Plant while trees are still in dormancy and the pressure to survive is not an issue. 

Winter brings dry desert-like conditions for most mountain landscapes.  So, gardeners must ensure that newly planted trees are well watered when planted and followed with a bi-monthly deep soak through April.

More info Here

10 Hard to Kill Mountain Evergreens
YouTube video how to plant a new tree or shrub.

Until next week, I’ll be helping friends here at Watters Garden Center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at
More info Here or .