Now is the time to add trees to the landscape
Here we are in fall, such a beautiful season – and a great time to plant trees. The mellowness of autumn benefits newly planted trees in a number of ways. The first benefit is extra root growth. One of the most important factors leading to successful planting is root growth. During the fall, when a tree is approaching dormancy, it is no longer putting its energy into leaf production. Instead, the tree can focus on its roots. Root systems keep growing even when the soil temperature cools to near freezing. Trees planted in the fall are typically found to have significantly greater leaf area, canopy width and height one year after planting compared to trees planted at other times of the year.
The second benefit: the tree requires less water after planting. As days shorten and nights lengthen, the rate of photosynthesis decreases and the need for water diminishes. A newly installed tree will always need a good initial soaking but will require less supplemental watering in the fall. However, keep in mind that any new planting should be watered in a dry spell.
This benefit extends into the following summer. Though both fall- and spring-planted trees need regular summer watering through at least their first two seasons, those planted in the fall will have more extensive root systems that are better able to forage for water and withstand heat stress.
Fall planting benefits trees – and trees benefit us. Not only are they beautiful but, environmentally, they are big players.
Tree canopy and root systems slow and filter rainwater, thus reducing the impact of storms on our already beleaguered stormwater management systems. Research indicates that 100 mature tree crowns intercept about 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year, reducing runoff and providing cleaner water. Trees store carbon, remove many pollutants from the air and produce oxygen. And they have a marked cooling effect. As a city’s tree cover is destroyed, its temperatures intensify.