There is an old proverb, aren’t they all old, which says: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. The wisdom is almost entirely true, but not totally true as I will explain in a bit. It is almost always a good time to plant a tree as they provide so many benefits.
Benefit of Trees
Without getting into all the details, here are 10 reasons we need to plant and care for trees as is explained in more detail on our importance of trees page.
- Trees absorb CO2 gases helping offset the effects of climate change.
- Trees provide oxygen and clean the air at the same time.
- Tree coverage helps cool by day and retain heat at night thus conserving energy.
- Trees act as natural water filters, reduce soil erosion, and help prevent flooding.
- Trees help increase property values and beautify communities.
- Trees provide a habitat for the world’s plants and animals to, if not thrive, at least survive.
- Trees can provide food for both humans and animals.
- Trees provide many health benefits including shielding us from harmful ultra-violet rays.
- Trees create economic opportunities, especially in impoverished areas around the world.
- Trees provide shade so we can enjoy a picnic.
Best Time To Plant a Tree
The old proverb quoted above shows that man understood the benefits of lush arbor coverage centuries ago, however, one doesn’t just want to plant a tree at any time of year, but at the right time. The best time to plant a tree is typically during the dormant season, which is in the late fall or early spring, depending on your climate and the type of tree you’re planting. Here are some guidelines to consider:
- Late Fall (Autumn): Planting in late fall, after the tree has dropped its leaves, can be an excellent time because the tree can focus on establishing and growing its root system during the cooler months without the stress of hot weather. Also, in the Fall, the soil stays warm well after the air temperature cools, which also encourages root growth. This allows it to be better prepared for the growing season in the spring.
- Early Spring: Early spring is another suitable time for tree planting, just before new growth begins. The soil is still relatively cool, which encourages root development. It’s important to plant early enough in the spring so that the tree has time to establish roots before the heat of summer.
- Avoid Extreme Weather: Avoid planting during the hot summer months or during freezing winter conditions. Extreme temperatures can stress the tree and make it harder for it to establish itself. Trees planted in the Fall are better equipped to deal with heat and drought in future seasons.
- Consider Local Climate: The best time can vary based on your local climate and the specific type of tree you’re planting. Some trees may have specific planting times that are ideal for their growth.
- Container vs. Bare-Root: If you’re planting a container-grown tree, you have more flexibility in terms of when you can plant, but still, aim for the dormant season or early spring. Bare-root trees are typically planted during the dormant season.
- Fewer Insects: The cooler temps of Fall and early Winter keep down the activity of insects which can be harmful to newly planted trees (as well as more established, mature trees).
- Rainfall: If possible, try to time your planting with periods of regular rainfall, which can help the tree establish itself more easily. Increased rainfall and cooler temperatures also means less watering time for you!
As you can see, proper tree planting involves more than just timing. Make sure to prepare the soil properly, dig an appropriate planting hole, and provide the tree with adequate water and care after planting to ensure its success and healthy growth. Additionally, consider the specific requirements of the tree species you’re planting, as some may have unique preferences and needs.
Here at The Gifted Tree, all of our memorial and celebration gift trees are planted in the location’s late spring or fall. This is being done to ensure the long-term survival of the trees as well as to accomplish the goals of the project. We have worked with our tree planting partners for years as they oversee the planting of our memorial and celebration trees as well as monitor their well-being afterwards to help ensure long-term survival allowing these trees to create a legacy lasting for generations.
The Gifted Tree has planting projects in over 80 locations in United States National Forests and in countries around the world. Each planting project has specific goals and plants different species of trees. Join us in exploring these planting locations as we update our locations pages to make it easier to view the projects available and to learn about the goals of the project, the species of trees planted, and, if available, a link to virtually view the general planting area via Bing earth maps.