Fall into early winter is the best time to plant trees and shrubs because it gives the roots a strong push before the coming spring and the new growth that comes. When a plant goes dormant during the winter energy transfer happens to the roots, the better and more extensive the root system the healthier the plant will be during the growing season. The roots do the gathering of the nutrients for the plant and the bulk of the water intake for the plant. If planting is done in fall or early winter as opposed to spring the plant will be less stressed in its growing season because of the head start the root system gets during the winter months.
We have a significant dry season here in the Rouge Valley with several months where we may not see rain fall in any significant amount. A great advantage of planting in the fall to early winter is the rainy season is generally beginning. Once the rain begins, the need to water your new trees or shrubs goes away as long as we getting substantial amount of precipitation.
The importance of the first two or three growing seasons for any plant is vital and that first dormant season is important for the roots to grow strong. Amending the soil when you’re planting your tree or shrub is a great idea and provides the best environment for the roots to grow. Adding organic soil amenders to the native dirt is helpful for maximum root growth. Remember to mulch the top layer of your new planting with 2 to 3 inches of mulch keeping the mulch from being up against the trunk.
Another great thing to plant in the fall to early winter is Bulbs!!!
It’s also a great idea if you have any turf areas to apply a winter fertilization to any turf areas and if you haven’t aerated the grass for a while it’s a great time too. Next Spring you’ll be happy with the rewards of your fall and winter investments into your landscape.