Written by experienced grower: Don Eaton, Founder and CEO of Bower & Branch
Is it ok to plant in the summer or best to wait for spring or fall?
One of the more misunderstood principles for planting trees is that Spring or Fall maybe better or worse than other times of year for planting. I want to share some common sense and truth with you based on my lifetime of planting experience – in all seasons, multiple zones and regions in the Eastern part of the U.S.
For almost all Trees the best time to plant is today – the sooner the better – get those roots growing as soon as possible!
There are always exceptions, some trees we prefer to plant early rather than in Fall – for instance I would much rather plant a redbud in July than in late fall. Redbuds benefit greatly from having ample time to establish some rooting before the winter moves in. Many experts do not recommend fall planting of redbud at all, my experience is we can do just fine with fall planting if we do a good job.
Let me be really clear – I have never had a Tree fail that was planted in the summer or fall – the only failures I have ever experience were Spring planted trees in all my years. I have planted at the peak of droughts and the dead of winter with success.
The secret is to understand the needs of the tree at planting time and to be well prepared to meet the demands of the coming season.
A Little History
Spring and fall plantings were required years ago when trees were either spring dug or fall dug. Still today, trees grown in the field are limited to planting times because of the harvest time. Field grown trees must be harvested dormant in both spring and fall. So naturally, spring and fall have become the main tree planting seasons. Some tree growers work to dig trees after they have leafed out and are having some success with this. As for me I will never plant a summer field dug harvested tree… I will however plant a container grown tree in all seasons.
Modern growing techniques have been developed to allow trees to be grown in containers, making requirements for spring or fall digging obsolete. Today, container grown trees, in many sizes, are available from the best growers in many regions. Field grown trees will one day be discontinued for many reasons – labor, expenses, seasonal availability, environmental impact, etc. The most important reason to abandon field production is the health and vigor of the tree.
Container Trees vs. Field Grown Trees
Container grown trees suffer less transplant shock and continue growing immediately without having the roots disturbed. There are still growers who are sticking with field growing but they to will soon realize that new and improved growing methods need to be adopted so they can serve the environment well, the tree well and the planter well. Failures of field grown trees can be 10 times higher than with container grown trees for the homeowner.
An added benefit of container grown Trees is they keep right on growing! With no harvest shock, a container grown tree welcomes the planting and doesn’t skip a beat when planted properly – see our Planting Guide for details on planting a Bower & Branch container grown tree.
Bower & Branch guarantees our trees in all planting seasons and recommends planting in all seasons. Our team of expert growers provide the required support for our customers no matter the planting time. Success is not determined by the planting season but by the health of the tree, the planting locations, the selection and the care provided afterwards.
Following the Bower & Branch Planting Guide, providing the proper care and applying the right Elements guarantees your success! Our Trees are healthy and are ready to grow in your landscape!
Thanks for planting!