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Doing Your Part for the Environment: When is the Best Time to Plant a Tree?

Apr 15, 2019, 2:53 PM | Updated: Jun 12, 2020, 3:54 pm
Plant a Tree...
Photo: The Hoth

This article about the best time to plant a tree is sponsored by Blue Stakes of Utah 811.


Do you want to enjoy nature and show your thanks? Plant a tree! Arbor Day celebrates the roles trees have in our lives. Dates vary by region, but most states celebrate Arbor Day on the last Friday of April. However, the best time to plant a tree in your state might be very different from the date in someone else’s. For that reason, some states celebrate Arbor Day in different parts of the year. If you want to help the environment, find out when you should plant a tree in our down-and-dirty article. Now let’s get some dirt under those fingernails!

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

Understanding when the best time to plant a tree is for your location requires some knowledge. Here’s what you need to consider.

1. The Type of Tree

Photo: Getty Images

The root configuration matters in determining when to plant your tree.

Research the type of tree you have and see when it’s suggested you plant. Trees with larger and fewer roots tend to do well in the spring. Some examples include:

  • Broadleaved evergreens
  • Tuliptree
  • Willow
  • Bald cypress

Those with shallow roots grow best when planted in the fall. Some fall-loving trees include:

  • Buckeye
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Pines
  • Ash

Plant deciduous trees and shrubs, which deposit leaves when they go dormant, in the fall.

2. Your Hardiness Zone

Photo: USDA, Public Domain

Find your hardiness zone. The Plant Hardiness Zones divides the US and Canada into multiple regions according to temperatures. After discovering your hardiness zone, you can determine if a tree will grow well in your area. Every plant has a recommended hardiness zone, making it easy to see if your baby tree will flourish.

Before ordering a tree, check its recommended zone to see if it matches your location.

3. Current Weather and Seasons

Photo: Getty Images

Most individuals assume springtime is the ideal time for planting regardless of the tree type but this isn’t always the case. In fact, many experts point out that fall may have more advantages than the spring planting season, even though many professionals plant in the spring. This is because fall’s moisture and cool temperatures encourage healthy root systems.

Consider the weather forecast for the coming month and last year’s weather. Did the temperatures suddenly drop or skyrocket during that season? If so, planting in the other season (spring or fall) might be a better choice.

4. Year-Round Climate

In addition to contemplating the upcoming weather, consider the weather in general. Do you live in a location that is cold or hot year around? If you live in a warm location, consider planting in the fall. This reduces the risk that a short spring and scorching heat waves will kill your tree.

If you live in a cold climate, plant in the early spring. During this time, the weather is cool but likely to warm. There is less chance the temperatures will drop, harming your baby tree.

5. Call 811 Before You Dig

Before you dig, make a call to Blue Stakes of Utah 811. Blue Stakes will send your request to the utility companies who will send out a locator to identify all your underground utilities so that you won’t hit any gas lines, water lines, communication lines, or any other utilities under the soil so you can safely find the best spot to dig for your beautiful new tree.

Help Yourself, Help the Planet

The best time to plant a tree may not be when you initially thought. By considering these four factors, however, you’ll have a fast-growing, healthy tree waving at you with green leaves.

But this isn’t the only way to appreciate trees. In fact, taking the kiddos out for a day along the trails or ponds is a relaxing and budget-friendly way to spend your weekend and instill an appreciation of humankind’s oxygen-producing friends.

Discover several outing ideas in our article, and plan to plant a tree with your family.

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Doing Your Part for the Environment: When is the Best Time to Plant a Tree?