Why Winter Is a Great Time to Plant Trees
There are many reasons why winter is a great time to plant trees. It can seem like there isn’t much to do in the garden during the colder winter months, but there is always a reason to get outside, no matter what the weather is like when you have a garden. You might need to top up your bird feeders, break the ice on your pond for wildlife to get in and out, or brush heavy snow off tree branches. One important gardening activity for the winter is to get your trees and shrubs planted. Here’s why:
1. Bare Root Availability
During the winter, you will find not only many container-grown trees available, often at a sale price, but also bare root trees become available to purchase. Often these cost less because they don’t have any soil around the roots and are therefore easy to transport and come without a pot. Bare root trees are planted when they are dormant, usually from November to March, and the roots may be denser as well plus, they are much easier to plant without the bigger rootball and pot.
2. You Don’t Have to Rush
November to March is a long period, and as long as the ground isn’t frozen or overly wet, you have plenty of time to plant trees outside. While bare-root trees and shrubs need to be planted ideally within a week of purchase, they can be ‘heeled’ in. So if you aren’t quite ready to get planting where they will eventually grow, dig a trench and lay the roots into the trench with the stems up against the side, then backfill to cover the bases and water well. This means the tree will be protected and will absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil instead of drying out. If you have container-grown plants, they can stay in the container until ready, but don’t let them dry out.
3. Providing Time to Establish
The soil is moist during the winter months, giving the roots just what they need to establish before the weather heats up. It is stressful for a tree to be freshly planted outside in the heat in the summer months, and it will need constant watering. So allowing it time to settle over winter is perfect. Energy will be directed towards the roots instead of leaves and bud formation and will grow substantially before spring and summer.
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