You’ve just bought a new sapling at the nursery and can’t wait til Spring to plant it in your yard, right? Well, Spring may not be the best time to plant that new tree. At the time of this writing, it is Winter. And that can be the best time to plant a new sapling into the ground.
I once was employed distributing fliers for a landscaping company. In hearing discussions at the office, I found that some people had new plants and trees placed in the ground during the winter. Curious, I asked about this, thinking winter was the worst time to put a new tree into the ground, due to the cold and elements.
The answer was that most trees go dormant in the winter months, especially if they are deciduous trees, the ones that lose their leaves in the fall and grow them back in the spring, such as Maple, Elm, and Aspen trees.
When a sapling is planted into the ground, there is actually a sort of “Shock” as the tree must “get used to” the new soil of the yard. This would go for shrubs, too, or any plant that is “transplanted” to a new location. The tree’s dormancy in winter lessens this shock greatly and helps insure that the tree will take to its new location. Not only that, but the lessening of the shock will also keep the tree’s natural defenses against insect pests from being overtaxed and weakened.
So that’s why, unless the ground is truly covered with ice, it’s often better to plant a new sapling or shrub in the winter months.
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