Autumn in Missouri is packed full with pumpkins, sweaters, fall colors, and apple cider. But, one adventure that you should add to your autumn to-do list is a visit to the garden center. With the warmer days and cooler nights, fall creates the perfect environment for planting. And, most importantly, for creating root growth.
Spring is often the preferred time to plant, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best time to plant. Cold soil and spring rain can create oversaturated soil that is low in oxygen. This can make the necessary rooting process difficult.
Summer is, quite frankly, just too darn hot. If you are a committed waterer and absolutely adore the heat, well, go for it. I, on the other hand, would rather avoid the oppressive St. Louis summers and plant during the best time of the year.
During the fall months, the warmer days and cooler nights help to alleviate the stress of transplanting while the warm soil helps to establish root growth. Fall root growth helps the tree to withstand the summer stresses yet to come.
If able, the best time to plant trees for ultimate root development is in September and October.
There are a few trees, however, that require a bit more time to become established. These trees are best planted in the spring:
If you choose to plant at this glorious time of year, just remember one thing: YOU MUST STILL WATER.
Yes, sorry to tell you this, but planting in the fall does not eliminate the trees necessity for water. In fact, because of all the growth happening under-ground, it actually becomes more important.
Roots will still grow even when the top of the tree is dormant.
Typically in the fall, the cooler temperatures and fall rain allows you to water less than you would at other times of the year. This still means that the soil should be kept consistently moist, even in the winter when the ground is not frozen.
So while planting in fall requires some maintenance, the jump-start on root growth for the following spring is a huge advantage.