Most people think of springtime as the only time you should consider planting a tree. But in case you think you missed your window, think again. Just because it’s no longer spring or summer doesn’t mean you can’t plant a tree. If you have been thinking to yourself, “Is it too late to plant trees in October?” we have good news. The short answer is that it’s not. You can plant trees during the fall in Oregon. In fact, the fall can actually be a great time to plant a tree.
Read on for some of the reasons why planting trees in the fall—even in October—is a good idea and why you should take advantage of this cooler season.
Better Root Growth
Planting a tree in the fall can lead to better root growth for the tree. This is because the seedlings will have more time to settle into the roots, and as you probably know, strong tree root systems are very important for healthy trees. They will then have a chance to grow before the hot weather comes around.
As the roots of the tree are responsible for absorbing and storing water, minerals, and nutrients as well as securing the tree to the ground, the better the root growth, the healthier the tree will be. Having a sturdy base is especially important in the first year of tree growth, as the roots are the foundation for the tree to establish itself so it can grow tall and strong.
Dormancy Is a Plus
During the fall and winter months, trees start to go dormant. This means that their growing processes slow down. Trees stop producing new growth above ground (such as growing new leaves or branches), which results in the tree using less energy.
This is something to take advantage of, as the tree can focus all its energy on its root growth and building that robust base. Assuming the tree is planted correctly, by taking advantage of this dormancy, there is less of a chance the tree will die during its first year.
Maintenance Is Easier
New trees tend to need much more water than older trees. This is especially important during Oregon’s hotter summer months, when the soil dries out more frequently. By planting a tree during the fall, this is less of a worry so maintaining the tree is a little easier. Your little tree will have fall, winter, and springtime to grow before the hot weather moves in. And you’ll be able to save on water costs. By the time it’s finally summer, your tree will be well equipped to resist the hot and humid weather and won’t need as much water as it would if it was newly planted in spring.
Better Weather Conditions
As mentioned above, water is so important to the survival of newly planted trees. As the weather is a bit cooler during the fall season and as there tends to be more rainfall, this weather is more beneficial to the growth of the new tree. The air temperature also tends to be a bit more stable during the fall months, which helps speed up the development of the roots. Even though the air temperature does cool off, the temperature of the soil stays warm, which also helps with root development.
You Can Focus on Other Maintenance in the Spring
Everyone knows that spring is the prime time for all types of planting, trees included. By planting at an “off” time, however, you can save a bit of money since prices tend to be lower. Additionally, you won’t have to compete with others to get the products and services you need for planting. By spring, you’ll already be focusing on other aspects of the maintenance of the tree, such as fertilizing, mulching, and other landscaping. Plus, you can simply enjoy the warmth of the spring and summer while others are spending lots of time working in their yards making sure their new trees are properly planted.
Selecting Your October Tree
Spring blooms are beautiful, but fall foliage can be even more breathtaking. You will know from the start what the fall foliage on the trees you are planting will look like if you choose to plant your new trees in the fall. Rather than just choosing a tree based on the color the foliage is expected to turn into in the fall, you can see it yourself.
Keep in mind that not every type of tree will do well if you plant it during the fall, but many will. Choose a species such as alder, spruce, pine, elm, maple, hawthorn, ash, or crabapple to plant in October. Or consider planting a tree that’s native to Oregon. On the other hand, you may want to avoid planting evergreens with broad leaves, such as hollies or boxwoods.
As with every tree you want to plant, it’s important to do your research before committing. Asking a professional arborist such as those at Mr. Tree for help is also a great idea. We can recommend species that are not only great to plant during the fall, but that would work well with your yard’s size, sun exposure, and soil conditions, amongst other things.
If you have been asking yourself, “Is it too late to plant trees in October?” you now have your answer. It’s not! Go ahead and plant your trees in the fall. You will be so happy with the results and the easier maintenance by the time spring and summer roll around.