We’ve all noticed it happening, and for a while now too. Humidity rates have dropped, the buzz of cicadas has been replaced with the beating of rain on our roofs, and coast-to-coast, Canadians have begun their fall rituals. Whether that be collecting the last harvests from your garden, rummaging for wool socks on a chilly morning, or exchanging the classic “Can you believe summer is over?!” disbelief with coworkers, another fall season is upon us.
At Tree Canada, the end of summer, which varies by region, marks the transition from one planting season to the next! More specifically, as we enter fall, we enter our second tree planting season of the year! Although National Tree Day and National Forest Week provided opportunities to plant trees in September, we’ve been, and continue to be, hard at work helping our municipal and community partners across the country get trees in the ground all season.
Is there a difference between fall and spring plantings?
Is one season better? Truthfully, the specific environmental conditions of your area are far more important to pay attention to than the month on your calendar. Regardless of where you are or what tree you’re working with, there are two main considerations that will indicate whether it’s a good time to be plant trees:
1. Soil Temperature: The first factor is soil temperature – it should be consistently at, or above, 10 degrees Celsius. Typically, when the soil temperature is warmer than the air temperature, the energy usage of a tree changes from leaf production to root development and nutrient storage, both of which are important after transplant. This corresponds to that time of year after leaves have fallen in the fall and before bud-break in the spring.
2. Water Availability: The second consideration is water availability. This is critical year-round and often determines whether young trees can heal from transplant shock and fully establish themselves at their new site. Whether it’s through natural precipitation or manual watering, trees will have a significantly easier time growing when they have a consistent water supply in their first few years. One benefit of planting in the fall is the upcoming availability of newly melted snow and ice in the spring. Once melted, the water is then available for the tree to drink immediately out of its winter dormancy period.
So, whether it be this fall or next spring, we’re ready to guide you through your next adventure in tree planting. Ready to learn? Read our step-by-step Tree Panting Guide, or watch our instructional tree planting video series to help you get started!
On behalf of Tree Canada, we wish each of you an active, safe, and happy planting season! Feel free to share your planting stories and pictures with us at @TreeCanada on social media.
Sutton, R. F. 1984. Bare-root planting season options. For. Chron. 60(6): 328–334
Day, S.D., Dickinson, S.B., Wiseman, P.E., Harris, J.R., 2010a. Tree root ecology in the urban environment and implications for a sustainable rhizosphere. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 36, 193–205