Winter is coming soon – December 21st – and we want to ensure your trees are properly planted and taken care of! It is widely spoken that fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. As Autumn comes to an end, be sure take full advantage of the remaining days of the season. Below we’ve compiled tips from Bradley Boobar, Arborist Representative, about which trees to plant, where to plant them, and where NOT to plant them. Additionally – check out our tree watering guide for winter which helps you navigate any freezes that may occur!

Planting Guide

Planting trees in the fall

Planting trees in the fall is the best time of the year for plant growth, because of the cooler temperatures and most deciduous trees are dormant allowing less stress and damage on the tree.

Planting Deciduous Trees

Many deciduous trees provide a beautiful foliage and if planted in the correct spot, they can help reduce your energy bill. Consider planting a deciduous tree like a Red Oak, Cedar Elm, Bur Oak, or Lacebark Elm on the northwest side of your home. This will cool your home in the summer and allow sunlight in to heat your home in the winter.

Planting trees along the North and South side

If you are looking to plant a screen for vegetable gardens or screen from harsh winter winds, consider planting a row of trees, like Eastern Red Cedars, Magnolias, or other full to the ground growth type trees to protect from the cold northern winds. Planting tree rows along the southside of your property will provide a good wind break as they mature.

Do not plant large stature shade trees close to foundation

Most large stature trees, like Red Oaks, Live Oaks, Magnolias, Cedar Elms, and Bald Cypress, need room to grow. Their roots grow outward to stabilize them as they mature. They require water and can reduce moisture near the foundation. It is important to not plant a tree within 25-ft of the foundation of your home. These large tree species can have roots that grow out 3-5 times the width of their canopy.

Do not plant large shade trees beneath utility lines

Selecting the right tree for the right location is very important. Never plant a large stature tree beneath a power line, or within a 25-35 ft of an overhead line. As these trees mature, they will grow into the utility lines and require invasive pruning. According to International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the correct way to landscape under utility lines is to plant large shrubs or smaller canopy trees that would not exceed the height under the lines.

Don’t forget to water during the fall and winter months

It is a common misconception that there is no need for watering in the fall/winter months. However, trees always require water throughout the year. We recommend watering as needed to keep the soil moisture at an adequate level during the colder months. To properly prepare for freezing temperatures in the fall and winter, make sure to water the trees an adequate amount the day/night before a freeze to maintain the soil temperature and decrease the chance of plant decline.

Freeze Watering Tips

Water 1-3 Days Ahead of Freeze

  • Drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to cold damage, so it’s crucial to water plants a few days in advance of a cold snap.
  • Create warmth for your trees by watering them just before a freeze. Water acts as an insulator, and it loses its heat slowly over the hours into the colder temperatures. Tree cells that are plump with water will be stronger against cold damage.

Adopt A Watering Schedule

  • Moist soil will tend to stay warmer than dry soil, so a regular watering schedule in dry, cold weather can help protect plants from freezing temperatures. In addition, if the ground freezes, the underground water turns to ice crystals which cannot be absorbed by tree roots.

Water Trees Year-Round

  • Even dormant trees need and absorb water year-round. If you experience freezing weather only occasionally, and you have had insufficient rain or snowfall, water deeply a day or so before a freeze is forecast.

Water The Entire Root System

  • A good rule of thumb is to water an area the size of the trees’ drip line. Water early in the day, so the trees have time to absorb it before the temperature drops at night. Don’t wet the foliage.

If you have any questions about your trees, feel free to contact the professionals at Fannin Tree Farm. Our number is 972-747-9233 and we have a team of arborists ready to serve.