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.
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.
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.
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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 WattersGardenCenter.com or