When’s the best time to plant a tree?

Our trees are grown in our patented Light pots with a fully functional unwounded root system so can be planted at any time of year. That’s why so many of our trees end up decorating summer wedding venues! However, planting a tree in full leaf in the summer is dependent on frequent watering to enable the roots to provide enough hydration to its growing shoots and leaves. Some species, like Platanus hispanica (London Plane) routinely defoliate when planted in full leaf only to re-shoot later. The best time to plant a deciduous tree is when it is approaching dormancy in late September/October as the roots carry on growing after planting even though they haven’t got a canopy full of leaves to support.

Trees are like hibernating animals, tucking themselves with nutrient before winter which can then be used to tick it though the cold dormant months. Autumn root growth gives the tree an ability to cram itself with food and hydration so planting a tree at a time to take advantage of this process is ideal. When winter hits, a tree will go into full dormancy but will still root, albeit very slowly, when soil temperatures are over 5 degrees Celsius. A deciduous tree can be planted very successfully all the way up to when it breaks dormancy in March / April.

However, this is not true of evergreen trees! These are best planted either in September/October to take advantage of autumn rooting or else from March through to May. If you plant an evergreen tree in the depths of winter it can sulk and decline. Always take evergreens when they are on the rise, not when they close down for the winter.

There are always exceptions to the above and for coastal or heavily exposed sites it is always best to plant a deciduous or evergreen tree in the spring, just before the emergence of new season leaves. This saves the tree from being hammered by inclement conditions all winter long which can deplete food reserves and lessen vigour.

So, in summary, plant deciduous trees in early autumn through to early spring and evergreen trees in early autumn or late spring.

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