Planting maples in December

Asked December 3, 2018, 11:43 AM EST

Can I transplant maples and butterfly bushes from containers now , December 3, in The Applegate?

Jackson County Oregon

1 Response

Thanks for Using Ask an Expert. The short answer is "no". The long answer is that it is winter and temperatures in the Applegate, as well as elsewhere in the Rogue Valley, will plummet to below freezing. Hopefully we will have a normal rainfall during the winter months as well. This combination of wet soil and freezing temperatures means a newly planted shrub or tree will not make new roots and will probably struggle mightily just to survive.What you need to do is have patience and wait until danger of heavy frosts is past--usually around March 15 or slightly earlier depending on your specific situation. If you are in a windy location or in a "cold sink" (an area relatively lower than surrounding lands), wait until at least April 1. Then dig a planting hole wider than the pot and plant the tree or shrub at the same depth it was in the container. Usually you do not add fertilizer at this time, but wait until leafy growth starts.Be sure to untangle any roots that are circling the can and stretch them out straight. Water well after filling the hole with the soil removed from it. Do not add a potting mix or any other "foreign" elements or you will create a basin-type effect where roots will not venture out into the surrounding soils. You can find other information about planting trees by visiting Good luck for your spring planting efforts!