As the weather gets colder, many homeowners want to know. Can I plant trees in winter? The short answer to this question is yes. However, you need to consider the type of tree, the climatic zone and the upcoming weather forecast. Also, there is a difference depending on whether you plant in early winter, midwinter, or late winter. Let’s discuss each of these factors in detail so you know if now is a good time to plant trees in your yard.
Tree species – evergreen or deciduous
When deciding whether to plant a tree in the winter, consider the type of tree you are interested in. Evergreen trees such as spruce and pine never drop their needles. They have a shorter planting season than deciduous trees because they need all the nutrients they can get before the ground freezes. The key is to plant evergreens when the soil is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius). Deciduous trees, or trees that lose their leaves and go dormant in the winter, don’t need a lot of energy to survive the cold months. This means that the temperature can be lower when planting. For best results, plant deciduous trees in the fall or early spring, before they sprout, when the soil is above 10 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
Climate has a big impact on when you can add trees to your yard. Across NY and much of the northern United States, fall is the best time to plant trees. The heat of summer is over, but the bitter cold of winter is yet to come. In (USDA) United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness, mid-August to mid-October is an ideal time to add a new tree to your yard. However, in southern climates, including, there is more time to plant trees in the ground. November and December are perfect times to plant trees in NY.
Upcoming weather forecast
In addition to climatic considerations, currently unseasonable weather can affect your ability to plant trees. For example, even if you live in a northern climate, a particularly warm winter may be perfectly suitable for planting a tree. And again, when the odd blizzard strikes in early September, planting new trees in the ground must be put on hold.
Early, mid, late winter
Winter can be divided into three main periods. Early winter is suitable for transplanting seedlings, as it often resembles autumn. However, if the ground is frozen or snowy, it is better to wait until late winter or early spring. After all, new seedlings are susceptible to frost damage, and their roots can dry out if planted in the middle of winter. Unless you live in a southern climate where cold and snow aren’t a problem.
No matter where you live or what type of tree you want to plant, these tips will help your seedlings get through the winter.
Continue watering: Water the soil around the new tree every week or two until the ground freezes. Water especially abundantly right before it completely freezes.
Apply mulching: Freeze-thaw cycles are particularly detrimental to young tree roots. Insulate the ground with mulch to maintain a more consistent temperature. Mulch also slows evaporation, allowing roots to absorb water more effectively.
Tree hanging: Windy winter conditions can hinder the growth of seedlings. Help the tree grow straight by tying it to three or four stakes.
Consider using desiccants: Desiccants are products that add a protective wax coating to hardwood evergreens to prevent them from drying out in the winter.
Do not fertilize: Immediately after planting the seedling, the new tree should have strong roots, not new branches. Adding a bit of compost and bone meal is acceptable, but wait until spring to be manure.
No pruning: Transplanting is stressful enough for the seedling without removing the branches. An exception to this is when a limb is damaged during shipping and needs to be removed.
Deer protection: Treat trees with deer repellent to protect newly planted trees from deer exploration. Also consider putting a protective tube on the trunk to prevent deer from rubbing their antlers.
Start thinking about spring cleaning
Thanks to this guide, you now know whether you can plant trees at this time of year. Still, if you have any questions, feel free to contact TreeSoldiers. Spring will come before you know it, so it’s wise to start planning. Book your spring-cleaning service now before it’s full! Contact us online today to request a free job quote. Did you know? TreeSoldiers is a neighborhood company. Learn more about our company of home service professionals at.