You may find this surprising, but one of the best times to plant trees is during the winter months. Depending on what section of the country you live in, it can be a wonderful time to plant trees. Although the process requires some due diligence on your part in terms of research and care for the saplings, it can be a rewarding and fruitful experience.
Planting new seeds is especially fun for the whole family during the holiday season. You may get a little dirty, but with some mesh tarps and an outdoor tarp handy while planting, you’re sure to have an easy cleanup afterwards.
Look to the Leaves
If your trees are still bearing leaves, that’s nature’s indicator to begin your planting. Typically speaking, certain states are better suited for winter-time planting. The USDA has divided states into planting zones based on weather patterns and the survivability rates of certain plants for each region.
Warmer southern states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee feature an ideal atmosphere in which to plant during the winter months. This is true of western states as well. In more northern states, wintertime planting can prove to be more difficult but not impossible. In either case, remember that when the leaves change and fall, it’s time to get those outdoor lifestyle covers out to protect your backyard furniture.
Reap the Soils
Arborists all agree that soil temperature is an extremely important factor when it comes to planting your trees. While the ideal soil temperature varies based on the species of tree, you will find that soil temperatures at 50° F or higher are recommended. If you have a few consistent days of 50° F or higher soil temperature, it’s time to start planting.
If your soil is consistently registering at a lower temperature, it’s best to wait till late winter/early spring to start your planting. The goal is to plant and watch as your tree develops, and if you plant after the soil temperature has become too low, the frigid temperatures of winter can make it harder for your tree to grow.
Weather to Plant
Planting trees is contingent on a few factors. Most importantly, weather plays into the survival rate of your saplings. You never want to plant while it is snowing or after heavy rainfall. Instead, take an accurate temperature check on the soil. Once you’ve had some consistent weather, you can begin plotting to plant your trees.
If inclement weather is coming, be sure to use a heavy duty tarp over your sapling to protect its leaves and root system. Use stakes to ensure you cover the whole sapling in a teepee fashion. If damage does occur, don’t prune any damaged branches or leaves, because this will leave your sapling more exposed to the elements.
Can You Digg It?
It’s time to start digging a hole for your sapling to sit in. Start by placing an outdoor tarp next to your dig site. An insulated tarp works as well, as both will help you save the soil to refill the hole afterwards. Most experts in the field agree an acceptable hole should be 2 to 3 times the size of the root ball (base of the saplings).
Winter tree planting is also a great time to get your backyard in order. Once you’ve planted your tree, secure your lawn furniture covers so everything is ready for the next season. If your green thumb still needs flexing, plant veggies that thrive in the winter and use a heavy duty tarp to protect your garden till the next harvest.
Thank You Very Mulch
Mulch is another safeguard against dropping temperatures and can help your sapling retain more water. The age of the tree will determine how much water it will need, as will the weather. For example, if you plant during the rainy season, less water will be needed to promote the growth of your sapling. Watering during the winter months will be crucial to the survival of your saplings.
Planting New Seeds
As the winter winds rage on, it’s easy to lose track of the reason for the season and get caught up in the holiday rush. Always remember the reason for the holiday season is spending quality time with your loved ones.
Planting trees with your family can be an exciting new tradition that becomes a staple in your holiday calendar. Relaxing bonding activities is a surefire way to remain in the holiday spirit long after they end. And at the end of the season, you’ll have a tree to commemorate all the wonderful times for years to come.