fall shrub planting

Asked October 17, 2014, 7:16 PM EDT

Is it too late to plant evergreen shrubs around my house? I live in Lansing Mi.

Ingham County Michigan trees and shrubs planting late shrub planting

1 Response

Actually Fall is an excellent time to plant evergreens. The trees experience less stress during the process because they’ve gone dormant in preparation for Winter…they don't need nearly as much water and sunlight during this dormancy as during the Spring and Summer months. Fall planting also gives the trees plenty of time to become acclimated to their new environment and for the dirt to properly settle around the roots. And finally, Fall planting gives the trees a head start because they're already planted when the ground begins to thaw. Spring is obviously a fine and popular time to plant, but Fall certainly has its advantages.

If you plan to plant seedlings, heaving out of Fall planted trees is a concern: open ground can freeze and thaw repeatedly in the Winter during sunny days and freezing nights, and this repetitive freeze/thaw cycle can literally squeeze the roots of a Fall planted seedling right out of the ground, since the roots are not yet anchored in the soil. Transplants, however, are virtually immune to heaving out due to their much longer root systems, even if they're not properly anchored yet. To prevent heaving out of a seedling, throw some mulch or bark around each tree to insulate any bare dirt from wild temperature swings on sunny days and freezing nights. Snow is the perfect ground insulator, and it's also free!

Desiccation [freeze drying] is also a concern: young evergreens can dry out from low humidity and high winds during the winter. Again, seedlings are more susceptible to dessication than the bigger transplants. To prevent desiccation, keep the ground damp until frost sets in, and spread mulch or woodchips as an added moisture retainer. Deep snowfall also prevents desiccation, since it covers the young trees in a stabilizing winter blanket.

Hope this was helpful. Feel free to contact us again if you have further questions.