When to Plant a Tree
Trees are beautiful all year round, providing leafy shade during the summer months and shelter for birds and wildlife when temperatures drop in winter. For homeowners, trees increase home value by as much as 10 percent.
Planting trees at the optimum time will protect your investment and increase the chance that your new tree will grow to maturity and live on for generations.
Spring Planting is Best in Canada
Spring is the ideal time for planting trees in Canada. Plant deciduous trees such as poplar, willow, birch and elm as soon as you can get a shovel in the ground. Evergreen trees like pine, fir and juniper can wait until the ground is a bit warmer in mid- to late spring.
Planting trees in spring provides sufficient time for the roots to settle in before the hot days of summer.
Fall Planting is Next Best
Fall is the next best time for planting deciduous and evergreen trees. Wait until hot days are over and leaves are falling, but get the tree in the ground before the first hard freeze. This way, tree roots get a good start while the soil is still warm.
If possible, prevent root stress by planting your new tree on a cool, overcast morning.
The Importance of Mulch
A layer of organic mulch such as bark chips, pine needles, compost or leaf mulch insulates tree roots and prevents moisture loss by evaporation. Mulch is important any time of year, but especially in the first months after planting a new tree.
Apply 5 to 10 cm of mulch, then replenish the layer as it decomposes or blows away. If possible, extend mulch at least out to the dripline, which is the point where moisture drips from the tips of the branches. Don’t allow mulch to pile up against the trunk, as a thick layer can invite disease, insects, and rodents.