While spring or summer in Fairfax County might seem like the ideal time to plant trees, given the beautiful weather and abundance of sunshine, these aren’t the only times you can plant a tree in Northern Virginia. While you can still plant trees during these warmer seasons, waiting until fall has some real advantages.
In this article, we'll explore what makes fall an ideal time to plant new trees by discussing:
- How Fall Planting Can Reduce Tree Stress
- How Dormancy Helps Trees Get Established
- How Chances of Pest Infestations and Diseases are Reduced During the Fall
- How Fall Dormancy Benefits a Tree’s Root Development
What Makes Fall a Great Time to Plant a Tree in Northern Virginia?
Fall is a great time to plant a tree in Northern Virginia due to a single word: Dormancy. Dormancy refers to the annual period when a tree’s development slows, and structural growth is significantly reduced. When our Northern Virginia deciduous trees go into dormancy, they let us know by losing their leaves for the season.
Dormancy Helps New Trees Get Established
Planting trees during their dormant period significantly reduces their stress. When trees are dormant, they are not actively growing or producing leaves, so they require less water and fewer nutrients. This reduces the risk of transplant shock and allows trees to establish their roots more easily.
Additionally, planting trees during dormancy minimizes the chances of damage from extreme summer weather we can see in Northern Virginia.
Looking for more information on planting trees in Northern Virginia? Virginia Tech has a great resource on tree planting here.
Planting Trees During Dormancy Reduces the Chance of Pest Infestations
When trees are dormant, so are many pests and diseases. By taking advantage of this period, we can ensure that our trees have a higher chance of thriving and staying healthy in the long run.
However, while fall does reduce the opportunities for diseases to develop or pest infestations to take hold, that doesn't mean you don't have to monitor for potential issues. For example, many insect species, including spotted lanternflies, lay eggs on trees in the fall, which means you will have to be diligent in inspecting your trees for pests before their eggs hatch in the spring.
Dormancy Allows for Maximum Root Development
Dormant trees contribute less energy to growing leaves and other structures. This reduced energy expenditure allows them to allocate their energy towards root development. By allowing the roots to absorb nutrients from the soil, they grow stronger and deeper, providing a strong, solid foundation for the tree.
This strong foundation and uptake of nutrients gives your tree a great head start in life and helps it withstand the harsh weather conditions and strong winds it will inevitably face.
NOTE: With all this root discussion, we should mention that while fall is a great time to plant a tree in Northern Virginia, you want to plant before the ground freezes. In addition to making it difficult to dig a hole, a newly planted tree’s roots will have an even more difficult time growing and absorbing nutrients in frozen ground.
Can You Still Plant Trees in Spring or Summer?
Yes! Don’t take all this dormancy talk to mean you shouldn’t plant trees in the spring or summer. While the dormant season has advantages, newly planted trees can thrive in the warmer seasons. Just remember to continually monitor your trees for overall health, provide them with the extra water and nutrients they need, and be diligent in identifying potential problems due to insects or diseases.
Need a Hand Keeping Those Newly Planted Trees Healthy?
Call Absolute Tree at 703-969-6207 for an arborist assessment! We can help assess your planting needs, assist you in deciding which tree to plant, and keep your newly planted trees healthy no matter what season you choose to plant. See why we’re Northern Virginia’s leading tree service company!
For the Absolute Best Tree Service in Northern Virginia, call Absolute Tree Today!
Author Profile: Ashley Davis
Over the last 19 years, Absolute Tree has grown a reputation as one of the premier tree service companies in the Northern Virginia areas. And there’s a good reason for this—we love trees and our passion for them shows. When you call on Absolute Tree for tree service, you aren’t just getting “some guys who cut down trees.” You’re hiring highly skilled arborists who understand the growth of trees and consider tree care an art form.
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