Seasonal care for trees & shrubs: Planting

April 4, 2008 at 5:16 am 2 comments


Planting is the act of placing a young tree or shrub that is either barerooted, balled
and burlapped (B&B), or containerized into the ground to grow.  If for any reason the plants cannot be planted immediately, make sure the soil and/or roots are kept moist until the time of planting.

In the Midwest region, tree planting of bareroot trees and shrubs is best done when the plants are dormant in the spring or at the end of the growing season (fall).  Balled and burlapped (B&B), containerized and container grown plants can be planted throughout the growing season, but with caution during the summer months.  During the summer, heat and periods of drought are tough on newly planted trees and shrubs.

Make sure you have the ability to water the trees and shrubs as needed; therefore, do not plant more than you can maintain.

Often the installation of trees and shrubs involves transplanting- the act of digging trees and shrubs from a site (e.g. nursery) and planting them in your landscape. This digging can result in the loss of ~90% of a tree’s root system; thus, some plants need a long growing season following this tranplanting to recover from the root loss. Therefore, the list below highlights trees and shrubs that have the highest survivability when transplanted in the SPRING.

Plants that were dug in the spring and kept in the garden center (e.g. root balls that are mulched or wrapped) generally have root systems that are further along in the recovery process and may be successfully planted in the fall.

Fall planting has the advantage of warmer soils, as compared to spring planting, with cooler air temperatures. During this time the roots can establish before the high heat of summer starts the following year. Ideally, before the soil freezes, soil temperatures remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for four weeks after planting. All species planted in the fall, especially conifers, require an ample water supply for winter protection.

Step 1: How do I know what to plant?  Starting out with…Tree selection

Step 2: How do I know if I’m getting high quality plant material?  Making the purchase… Buying high quality trees

Step 3: How do you plant?  Putting the plants in the ground…Planting the Tree

Species to Transplant in Spring

Almond (Prunus spp.) Hawthorn species (Crataegus spp.) Oak (Quercus spp.)
Apricot (Prunus spp.) Hawthorn, cockspur (Crataegus crusgalli) Pawpaw, common (Asiminia triloba)
Baldcypress (Taxodium spp.) Hemlock (Tsuga spp.) Paulownia, royal (Paulownia tomentosa)
Beech (Fagus spp.) Hickory (Carya spp.) Peach (Prunus spp.)
Beech, American (Fagus
Holly, American (Ilex opaca) Pear, callery (Pyrus callergana)
Beech, European (Fagus sylvatica) Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) Pecan (Carya spp.)
Birch (Betula spp.) Hornbeam, American (Carpinus caroliniana) Persimmon, common (Diospyros virginiana)
Birch, European white (Betula pendula) Hornbeam, European (Carpinus betulus) Plum (Prunus spp.)
Birch, River (Betula nigra) Horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) Plum, cherry (Prunus cerasifera)
Buckeye, Bottlebrush (Aesculus parviflora) Horsechestnut, ruby red Pine, jack (Pinus
Butternut (Juglans spp.) Ironwood, American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) Pine, pondersoa (Pinus ponderosa)
Cedar, red (Juniperus virginiana) Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) Poplar (Populus spp.)
Cherry (Prunus spp.) Laburnum (Laburnum spp.) Sassafras (Sassafras
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.) Larch (Larix spp.) Silverbell (Halesia spp.)
Corktree, amur (Phellodendron amurense) Larch, golden (Pseudolarix amabilis) Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
Cypress (Taxodium spp.) Linden, silver (Tilia
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Daphne (Daphne spp.) Magnolia (Magnolia spp.) Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Dogwood, flowering (Cornus floria) Magnolia, Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata) Tupelo, Black gum, Sour gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) Magnolia, southern (Magnolia grandiflora) Walnut (Juglans spp.)
Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) Maple, paperbark (Acer griseum) Walnut, black (Juglans
False cypress (Chamaecyparis spp.) Maple, Red (Acer rubrum) Willow (Salix spp.)
Fir (Abies spp.) Maple, sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
Fringetree, white (Chionanthus virginicus) Maple, trident (Acer buergerianum) Yew (Taxus spp.)
Source: Dirr, 1998; Himelick, 1981; Watson and Himelick, 1997

More information on each step:

Authored by Rebecca Koetter, Gary R. Johnson, and Dave Hanson: University of Minnesota
Funded in part by USDA Forest Service: Northeastern Area
Chart designed by Andrew Rose:

Download & print your own poster or magnet copy of the “Seasonal Care for Trees and Shrubs in Northern U.S. Climates”


Entry filed under: seasonal care. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Seasonal Care for Trees and Shrubs in Northern U.S. Climates Seasonal care of trees & shrubs: Transplanting

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