When the warm sun returns to the northern hemisphere in the spring, we all hurry to take advantage of the nice weather. Spring has traditionally been a popular time for adding new plants and trees to our green spaces, but as the summer turns into fall, our inspiration for planting sometimes goes on the backburner.
While the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, we may not be inclined to think that fall is an opportune time for greening our yards. However, the fall provides distinct advantages when it comes to planting new trees!
Three beneficial reasons you should consider planting in the fall are:
- Temperature. Cooler temperatures combined with shorter, brighter days during the fall months create an ideal environment for newly planted trees. Extreme environmental factors, such as hot temperatures, can compound a new tree’s stress levels making it more difficult for it to properly establish. This is one reason we avoid planting in the heat of the summer months.
- Fewer pest and diseases. Threats from pests and diseases are often lower during the fall season. For example, leaf defoliating insects are more common during the spring and summer months but begin to recede as the temperatures start to decline. Fewer pests and diseases mean less stress on newly planted trees.
- New root growth. New trees begin establishing their root systems immediately after planting in the fall. Following the hot summer months, the soil remains warm well into the fall season, creating an ideal environment for new root growth. In addition, the cooler temperatures and shorter days trigger trees to send resources to their roots in preparation for the winter which furthers root development. A tree’s roots will continue to grow until the ground freezes in the fall, resulting in a stronger, more developed root system ready to ‘spring’ into action when leaves emerge in April/May.
Interested in planting a new tree this fall? Our subsidized tree planting program makes planting native species easy, fun and affordable. Apply now to book your personalized consultation with a certified arborist. In addition to trees, we also offer native shrubs!
Jess Wilkin is the Residential Planting Program Assistant at LEAF.
The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York, the City of Markham, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Ajax, Toronto Hydro and Ontario Power Generation.