What is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs?

Autumn and winter are the seasons when most professional landscapers will plant.

Why do professional landscapers plant in the coldest months of the year?

  • During the coldest months of the year it is generally the easiest time to dig the ground.
  • Trees and shrubs planted in the colder months of the year are dormant (asleep) and so will require minimal maintenance (e.g minimal watering / pruning – unless of course we have a sudden winter heatwave!)
  • In the coldest months of the year, you can purchase root-balled plants. These are tree and shrubs which are lifted straight from the ground and available to purchase without pots. These rootballed plants have a solid soil ball at the base and this is prepared ready for planting fairly soon after delivery.
  • Root balled trees and shrubs are often a more cost effective option than plants which are containerised but can only be purchased when the weather is cold. This is because once weather warms up the rootball dries out too quickly unless planted in ground.  Typical examples of plants sold as rootballs are hedging plants as customers tend to plant hedging in large quantities. Cherry Laurels, Yews, Holly and Thuja are all examples of plants frequently sold as rootballed hedging.
    bay trees rootballed
    An example of mature Bay Trees rootballed, and ready for planting as hedging

     

  • When trees and shrubs are planted in the colder months of the year, it means that by spring and early summer they will have benefited from optimum growing conditions, having had the opportunity to establish their root system whilst dormant.
  • Trees and shrubs planted in the autumn / winter have the very best chance of fully establishing and they require minimum maintenance. The soil is like the sea – it takes all year to warm up and then the whole winter to cool down. Hence, planting in Autumn/Winter means planting in fairly warm soil conditions (regardless of the colder temperatures above ground).
  • We have had very mild autumn / winter weather conditions over the last few years throughout most of the UK (e.g. not too severely cold and little frost and snow). Consequently, the soil should be moist and easy to dig.
  • In coldest months of the year (autumn / winter) avoid planting if the ground is frozen hard due to extreme frosts or extremely waterlogged soil (water sitting on soil surface or sitting in the planting hole without draining away).

Can I still plant in the Warmer Weather – late spring / summer?

Many customers only get round to planting when the weather is warmer and there is no problem with planting trees and shrubs which are containerised (in pots). These can planted at any time of the year. In the hottest months of the year – generally July and August, avoid planting only if the ground is solid due to extreme drought. It will be pretty impossible to dig the ground in those conditions anyway.

Any queries about plants or planting please always contact us at info@paramountplants.co.uk

Our Advice? Keep calm and get planting NOW!!