There is absolutely no better time of the year to plant shade trees, fruit trees, and shrubs in the landscape than when the cooler, less humid temperatures of early fall start to settle in.

plant shade trees
Planting trees this fall like these apple trees can bring years of shade – and fruit!

Even though we have plenty to finish up on the inside of the new Simple House at the farm – we know we can’t miss out on the golden opportunity the next month will bring when it comes to installing our landscape. 

Why Fall Is The Perfect Time To Plant Shade Trees, Fruit Trees and More

Even though many people think of Spring as the ideal time to get out and plant, early fall is actually the better choice when it comes to nearly all trees and shrubs. Planting in the fall allows just enough time for the roots of these long-term landscape plantings to become established before they go dormant for their wintertime resting period.

plant shade trees
As fall sets in, it is time to turn our attention to getting trees, shrubs and bushes planted

This short period of fall growth lets them get accustomed to the soil and prepares them for fast growth the following year. All without having to start their transplanted life trying to handle the huge temperature swings of springtime and the sweltering heat of summer.

Fall planting also means a huge reduction in the amount of watering needed to get them established compared to a spring or summertime planting.

The Basics To Planting Trees and Shrubs

Whether you are going to plant shade trees, fruit trees or shrubs, one of the most important parts of planting is in the digging of the hole. When it comes to trees and shrubs, the size of the planting hole should be roughly two times the diameter of the container the plant came in. This only applies to the diameter, and not the depth.

planting fruit trees
Planting holes need to be about twice as wide, but not twice as deep

You will want to dig the hole about 4 to 6″ deeper than the root ball. This loosens the soil underneath so that roots have plenty of room to expand. This is a great time to mix in a few shovel fulls of compost to help those roots power up.

As you plant, be sure to keep the crown (the main base) of the tree or shrub slightly above the soil line. This keeps the base from sitting in water during periods of too much rain. When it comes to watering, be sure to water every few days until the plant has become dormant for winter. If you are having a warmer and dryer winter than usual, be sure to still water every few weeks.

A Critical Step In Planting

Finally, the one critical step that many leave out is mulching the trees and shrubs once planted. A heavy 3 to 4″ coating of shredded bark mulch or even straw is critical to a new plants long term health. Not only does it keep the moisture in, it helps the soil temperature stay regulated. It also keeps out competing weeds around the base of the tree or shrub, and provides much need protection for the plant through winter.

Plant Fruit Trees
It is the perfect time to plant shrubs like this crepe mrytle

With that said – I think it’s time we get back to putting up today;s chore of installing our kitchen cabinets so we can get ready for our own landscape planting in a few weeks!

For more detailed planting instructions, you can see our post : How To Plant Fruit Trees This Fall

Happy Tree and Shrub Planting! – Jim and Mary

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One thought on “Fall – The Perfect Time To Plant Shade Trees, Fruit Trees and Shrubs

  • August 21, 2016 at 9:03 am
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    I’m here in central Ohio as well and have a question- where are you finding fruit trees for sale at this time of the year? Are you buying locally or on-line?

    I would love to get 3 more fruit trees for our mini-orchard! Thanks for the inspiration!

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