Is it better to plant a tree in the autumn or in the springtime?

The answer might be yes, depending on your circumstances. There are pros and cons for planting in both seasons.

Benefits of Planting a Tree in the Fall

planting a tree in soil

In the Ottawa fall, with shorter days and lower temperatures, trees prepare to become dormant. The growth from the current year is hardened, in preparation for winter temperatures. The metabolism slows to a near stop.

If a tree is healthy and properly prepared for planting in the fall, you can expect most species to be ready to re-establish themselves in the spring.

It is tempting to plant in the fall; trees are often on sale at the end of summer. There is sometimes more time for planting, with fewer other landscaping chores.

Dormancy Through the Ottawa Winter

newly planted tree in yard

Also, when the tree is planted, protected, and secured, you can generally forget it until spring. Other than moist soil, there is no need for fertilizer or pruning, because there is no need for growth.

In fact, you want to maintain dormancy, avoiding pruning before planting because the tree will try to regrow the cut ends. Similarly, do not fertilize the tree, which could stimulate growth instead of dormancy.

To protect the tree, choose a location with good soil quality and depth, and plan to tether it to two or three posts to stop the wind from rocking the tree until it can establish a strong root structure and stem.

Fall Planting, Winter Protection, Spring Rejuvenation

If planting an evergreen, wrap the tree in burlap to minimize moisture loss from the needles and damage from ice and snow. If planting a deciduous tree, consider surrounding the stem with metal mesh to discourage rodents and rabbits.

Also, consider whether warm winter sun on one side of the stem will cause intermittent thawing and cracking  If so, an opaque shield, such as a board, can serve as a sun block.

Water the soil around the planting hole generously, then the root ball when the tree is planted. Tether, wrap if necessary, mulch to preserve moisture, and walk away.

Planting Trees in the Spring

workers planting treesWhen planting a tree in spring, good soil, a good location, and tethering are still needed, with no need for protection from cold temperatures. However, protecting the stem may still be a good idea.

Also, any late winter pruning has to be timed to beat a sudden onset of warm weather, as can happen in Ottawa. The tree begins to grow, beginning with buds.  

It is time for tree care and feeding, and watching for insect pests. The care provided will determine the state of the tree next fall.

Hiring the Ottawa Tree Professionals to Do the Job Right

Caring for Ottawa tree species includes attending to damage from wind, ice and snow, and pests such as invasive insects. All of these tasks are best handled by professional arborists, who can safely and efficiently service the long-term investment you will have in a healthy, mature tree for years to come.

Croft Tree Experts provide the Ottawa region with quality tree care by professional arborists. 

Contact us to find out how we can service your trees today!