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Ask The Arborist

John from Bay Village asks:
When is the best time to plant a new tree in our yard?

A. This question has probably been asked countless times of countless arborists. The most profound answer that I've ever heard is "20 years ago." However, if you didn't plant a tree 20 years ago, the next best time is "this year".

Fall is considered a prime tree-planting season. Although you can plant trees in summer, they require careful transportation so that they don't get wind-burned on the way to their new home, and they require more care to get them through the stresses of summer.

Also, the success rate for summertime planting seems to be a bit lower, which is probably one reason a lot of nurseries won't dig trees in the summer. The trees you find at nurseries in the summer were actually dug back in spring (I hope!) and are left over.

Although fall is a great time for planting most species of trees, some actually prefer being planted in spring. Whatever tree(s) you decide on, be sure to check if there is a seasonal preference (on the tree's part, not yours).

Included in the group of "spring-movers" are holly, magnolia, tulip, beech, birch, and red oak. There are others, too, so be sure to look into this important aspect. Ask where you purchase the trees for advice. If you haven't chosen one of the species that have a preference for spring, go ahead and plant this fall!

There are many variables to consider about planting trees and unfortunately we can't address all of them in this column, but the above should help you get started. Where you purchase your trees should be able to provide you with helpful information on proper planting techniques and tree selection. You can also check with a Certified Nursery Technician, arborist, or your local Cooperative Extension Service.

Ask our Arborist a question. E-Mail us at:

Tom Mugridge

Forest City Tree

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