Most people think of planting trees and shrubs in the spring. Fall can also be a good time to plant due to cooler temperatures and ample rainfall. Trees and shrubs planted in fall may require extra attention. It’s important to note that plants need enough time to establish a good root system before winter hits. Planting the right type of plants and providing them with ample water and proper fertilizer is key to getting a good start at any time of year.

Some types of trees and plants that do not take well to fall and should be saved for spring planting include: Large trees,  red maple, birch magnolia, sweet gum, hawthorn, poplars, dogwood, tulip tree, cherries, plum and many varieties of oak.

The ideal time to plant trees and shrubs is early enough in the fall for the plant to develop a good root system – typically early September to late October, depending on the planting location. Soil temperatures should be well above 55 F at a depth of 6 inches at planting time.

Water trees and shrubs thoroughly after planting, providing about 1 inch of water per week. Continue watering until the ground freezes, even if deciduous plants have lost their leaves. To prevent frost cracks, animal damage and sunscald, wrap the trunks of thin-barked, young trees in late November and remove the wrap in March.

Apply a 2-4 inch layer of mulch to help moderate soil temperatures in winter and prevent shallow-rooted shrubs from heaving out of the ground due to alternate freezing and thawing of the soil. Applying compost, shredded bark or straw in late November or early December, after the plants are dormant can also help protect plants during winter months.

To consult one of Tree Tech’s certified arborists about tree and shrub planting call 888-873-3832. Tree Tech has been is one of Massachusetts most renowned tree care companies providing year round tree services throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island since 1986. For more information, please visit

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