Planting Deciduous Trees in the Fall For a Flourishing Landscape

Planting Deciduous Trees in the Fall For a Flourishing Landscape

Sep 19, 2023

As a seasoned nurseryman, I often get asked about the best time to plant trees, and my answer consistently points to the fall season.

Planting deciduous trees in the fall offers several advantages that can lead to a thriving and robust landscape. In this blog, I'll delve into the reasons why fall is the ideal season for tree planting and provide you with essential planting instructions and aftercare tips to ensure your newly planted trees flourish.

deciduous fall color trees

Why Fall is Ideal for Planting Deciduous Trees

Cooler Temperatures: One of the primary benefits of fall planting is the milder weather conditions. As temperatures drop, trees experience less stress during transplanting. With cooler soil and air, the risk of heat stress and excessive transpiration is significantly reduced, allowing the tree to establish its root system more efficiently.

Root Growth: In the fall, deciduous trees focus their energy on root development rather than leaf production. When you plant in this season, your tree can dedicate its resources to establishing a strong, extensive root system. This robust foundation ensures the tree's long-term health and resilience.

Ample Moisture: Fall typically brings increased rainfall, which provides natural irrigation for your newly planted trees. Adequate moisture is crucial during the early stages of growth. Planting in the fall allows the tree to take advantage of this moisture, reducing the need for supplemental watering.

Less Transplant Shock: Deciduous trees experience less transplant shock when planted in the fall. With the lower temperatures and reduced sunlight, they can acclimate gradually to their new environment without the stress of extreme conditions.

planting trees in fall

Tree Planting Instructions for Fall:

Choosing The Right Deciduous Tree and Planting Location

The first important step when it comes to fall planting is selecting a deciduous tree species that suits your landscape. It is essential that you consider factors like size, growth rate, and local climate conditions to ensure that your tree will thrive in its new home!

Once you've selected your tree, you should ensure the planting site has well-drained soil, receives adequate sunlight, and provides sufficient space for the tree to grow to its mature size.

Planting Process For Deciduous Trees

Now that you have a tree and designated location for planting, it's time to get your hands dirty and get to planting! Dig a hole that is at least twice as wide as the tree's root ball and of equal depth. Next, loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole to encourage root growth.

If your tree is in a container, gently remove it and place the root ball in the center of the planting hole. Backfill the hole with the original soil mixed with organic matter or compost. Tamp it down gently as you go to eliminate air pockets. Be extra careful not to cover the trunk of the tree with soil, as this can cause the bark to decay and ultimately kill the tree.

Mulching Your Deciduous Tree

Mulch is a crucial step in the planting process of your deciduous specimen. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. As with backfill soil it is important not to mound up mulch around the base of the trunk.

Watering Your Deciduous Tree

We recommend you water thoroughly after planting to ensure the soil settles around the roots. Keep the soil consistently moist throughout the fall, tapering off as winter approaches.

caring for deciduous trees in fall

Tree After Planting Care Tips:

Pruning: Minimal pruning is required during the first year. Remove any damaged or crossing branches. Major pruning should be deferred until late winter or early spring.

Fertilization: Wait until the following spring to apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer such as Tree-tone by Espoma. This gives the tree time to acclimate.

The Magnificent Ten: Deciduous Trees for Your American Landscape

  1. Red Maples (Acer rubrum): Known for their spectacular fall foliage, the Red Maple is a North American native tree that paints the landscape in vibrant shades of orange, red, and yellow. Two of the finest Red Maple cultivars are The October Glory Maple and The Brandywine Red Maple.
  2. Red Oak (Quercus rubra): The Red Oak is a majestic tree with brilliant red leaves in the fall. It provides ample shade and is highly valued for its strong, durable wood.
  3. Eastern Dogwood (Cornus florida): A charming understory tree, the Eastern Dogwood boasts showy white or pink blossoms in the spring and striking red foliage in the fall. Dogwoods are available in white and pink and also the Rosy-red of the Cherokee Chief Dogwood.
  4. Dunstan Chestnut: The Dunstan Chestnut tree is a blight-resistant specimen that provides consistently high-quality nuts in the fall and won’t overpower the landscape.
  5. Magnolia (Magnolia hybrids): The deciduous magnolia trees are truly a sight to behold in the spring. The flowers emerge before the leaves, providing early spring color to the landscape.
  6. White Oak (Quercus alba): The White Oak is a stately tree with distinctive lobed leaves that turn a rich burgundy in the fall. It's famous for its strong, durable wood used in furniture and barrels.
  7. American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis): This large tree graces landscapes with brilliant yellow leaves in the fall and is fast growing. It's also well-suited to wet soil conditions.
  8. Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica): Known for its vibrant summer blooms in various colors, the Crape Myrtle adds a touch of elegance to any landscape.
  9. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis): With its delicate pink or purple spring flowers, the Eastern Redbud creates a captivating contrast against its heart-shaped leaves.
  10. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum): A conifer that sheds its needles in the fall, the Bald Cypress displays russet-brown foliage and unique knobby "knees" in wet areas.

Shop Deciduous Trees Online Today

By planting deciduous trees in the fall and following these planting instructions and aftercare tips, you'll set the stage for a landscape filled with vibrant, healthy trees that will enhance the beauty and value of your property for years to come.

Happy planting, until next time--see you in the garden!