Trees are more delicate than you might imagine, so how do you know when it is the best time to plant a tree or shrub? Fall planting isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule, especially if your chosen species takes a few weeks or months to establish roots. The first consideration should be the typical growing season and the type of root systems on the type of tree or shrub you would like to plant. 

The Lineage Tree Care experts offer more advice below about the best time to plant a tree for optimal growth and a beautiful garden.

the best time to plant a tree

The Best Time to Plant a Tree: Spring or Fall?

Common sense may assume that fall is the best time to plant a tree. The weather is nice, and you could reasonably expect your tree not to freeze or burn in this season. The leaves change just before the harsh winter, and the tree awakens just in time to bloom for spring—isn’t that a great time to establish roots in a young tree?

The same debate often arises with proponents for both autumn and spring. Most people are on the side of spring being the best time to plant a tree if you consider the enjoyment factor. They find that spring is the most appealing time after waiting all winter to dig their “green thumb” into some hard gardening.

Based on effort alone, spring does seem a much better time to tend to a newly planted tree than fall. The biting cold in fall makes it feel like a chore rather than a leisure activity. Spring may not fit the mold for every tree type, but here are several other reasons why springtime is optimal for planting a tree: 

Taking Root in the Fall is Challenging

Early frost is detrimental to a young tree, as developing roots is nearly impossible in the hard ground with a severe lack of water. Since winter and summer are usually too dry for planting trees, early spring is a great window that offers both water flow and increasingly hot conditions.

There’s a Spring Gardening Frenzy

Most garden centers see spring as the peak season, providing a great opportunity to load supplies and see the garden begin to bloom. The eagerness and fertilizer specials may immediately have your tree growing fast, which are not as forthcoming as the growing season wanes in the fall.

You Need to Consider the Cold and Heat Balance

Planting in spring seems best, but it also depends on your local weather. If you are in an environment where early summers are frequent, fall might be a better option. If you live in a colder climate, spring remains the best option as the temperatures rise.

Give your tree enough time to strengthen and for the roots to establish clear channels. If you plant during the harsh months, the tree may expend its energy in strengthening its roots and grow much slower.

Let Lineage Tree Care Handle Your Landscaping Needs

The professionals at Lineage Tree Care are available for any tree planting questions you have, as well as landscaping ideas. Give us a call at (425) 800-8023 today to schedule a visit from one of our arborists or ask us about the best time to plant a tree. We’re more than happy to give you a free estimate on landscaping, growing, and trimming trees.