Plant a tree when it’s dormant, plant a tree in the fall

The white oak is the state tree of ConnecticutIt’s a nice sunny summer afternoon in Northern Illinois – a perfect time for a tree planting, right? Well, not so fast. Actually, you can have your tree planting in summer but it’s not the perfect time to plant a tree. If there is a perfect time for planting a tree, that would most likely be when the tree is dormant.

Tree planting is a stressful experience for a tree. Think about. The poor tree has either sat around with its roots bundled in a bag or has been ripped out of the ground by the nape of its neck. In either case, it’s not a particularly pleasant way to start the day.

When a tree is dormant, it’s almost as if an anesthesiologist has put the tree under for the operation. When the tree wakes, it finds its roots freshly planted.

The first thing a tree needs to do is to spread its roots. More specifically, it needs to develop a root system. A solid root structure will ensure that, when you plant a tree, it has the best chance of survival. Not only will it survive, it will most likely thrive and grow.

When you plant a tree, dig a hole at least as large as the ball of roots at the bottom. As a general rule, you can dig the hole twice as big as the ball. The situation may dictate a more specific sized hole but, for that, you’ll probably want to consult with an expert.

You’ll also want to carefully consider where to plant your tree. A large number of factors come to play when you make this decision. For instance, what kind of tree do you want to plant? How much moisture is typically in the ground where you plant a tree? What purpose do you want your tree to serve? Will it provide shade, a windbreak or is it merely ornamental?

Wherever you plant a tree, and whatever time of year, you’ll want to provide some water after you put the tree in the ground. How much water also depends on a number of factors, such as whether we had a wet or dry year here in Northern Illinois.

When in doubt, call an expert. You can call the pros at Cal & Shan’s at 815-509-1026.