Extending Fall planting?

Asked January 8, 2019, 1:48 PM EST

With the amazing mild weather this year, I have wondered about planting shrubs beyond the normally acceptable Fall planting time. How much time is recommended for, say, a holly bush or 8' tree planting to be safe before a freeze 'sets' in? Two weeks-ish, minimum?

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1 Response

We would wait until the ground is workable in the early spring.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, many soils are overly wet right now or partially frozen. Either way, the chances of getting the soil in good contact with the roots without compaction, or even the risk of ruining soil structure is not worth it.
In the case of the Holly, we usually suggest that broad-leaved evergreens be planted in early spring for best results. They are subject to winterburn damage from dessication/drying out in cold, dry, winter conditions.
The idea of planting in the fall allows trees to begin to establish roots for 2 to 4 months before the ground freezes.