What is the best date to plant a bare root tree, near Ann Arbor MI?

Asked January 30, 2019, 12:29 PM EST

What is the best time of year to plant a bare root tree. I am looking for a calendar date, not general information. I am located in Milan, MI 48160, near Ann Arbor.

I am ordering bare root crabapple trees via mail for planting in the spring. The nursery requests that I specify the delivery date. I would like to know the ideal spring date to plant the trees. I realize the trees need to be dormant. I also realize the trees need to be planted immediately upon arrival. However I am not sure when the ground will be thawed yet air is still cold in the spring. What is a recommended planting calendar date? In the future, where can I find soil temperature history maps or similar information?

Washtenaw County Michigan trees and shrubs gardening horticulture

2 Responses

Though it cannot be predicted what spring will bring, it is safe to wait until the ground thaws which is usually the 2nd to 3rd week in April. There is a small window of time from when plants begin to leaf out and the ground has thawed. Mid-April is commonly the time that frost has left the ground and it becomes fine to plant. There are years that it happens sooner but these are unusual years. Soil temperatures can be found on the MSU Enviroweather website at: https://enviroweather.msu.edu/ You choose the closest weather station from the site nearby such as Commerce Township. Once it redirects to the Commerce station then click on Soil Conditions. But it gives soil temps at 2 and 4 inches which does not tell when the ground down 8 to 12 inches has thawed. If your trees come early and it has not thawed, keep them in a dark cool place for a few days but keep roots moist.

Thank you very much. That is exactly the answer I was looking for.