Sometimes, timing is everything. Get it right, and you could be on track to enjoying a bountiful harvest or witnessing a remarkable natural event. Get it wrong, however, and you could have lackluster results – or worse. If you’re planning to improve the look of your yard, you’ve probably scoured the web for a local landscaping company in Rogers, MN, or another locality.
Maybe you’re thinking of planting a few trees and want the contractor to do it for you. But did you know there’s a right time to plant trees – and if you miss the window period, your trees might not stand a chance? Not exactly, but their odds of growing as expected drop significantly if your timing is off. So, when is it too late?
Towards the end of November, Minnesota starts experiencing winter. This implies your tree plants should be in the ground before that happens, specifically about six weeks before the cold season. In so doing, they can start to root in time. Later than that, the harsh temperatures will make it challenging for them to survive, let alone thrive. And although the timing may vary by a few weeks depending on the tree species, you should generally plant most trees before the end of October.
The Best Time to Plant
So, when is the ideal time to plant? The best time to plant trees in Minnesota is in the spring – specifically, between mid-April and mid-May. This gives the trees enough time (a head start, if we may) to grow roots and establish themselves in their new surrounding before the harsh winter sets in. Plant dormancy usually occurs in winter, so it’s advisable to ensure your plants have ample time to prepare.
But, there are a few exceptions – such as if you’re planting a fruit tree. In that case, you might want to wait until fall. Most local landscaping firms prefer fall planting. Here’re a few reasons why:
- Reduced stress: Planting in fall allows your plants to have an easier time than if you did it in summer. In fall, your trees get to experience generally milder temperatures. Plus, the risk of severe weather reduces in fall – tornadoes come to mind.
- Saves you money: Typically, tree plants are cheaper in fall than in spring. Mostly, nurseries and garden stores discount their inventory (shrubs and trees) in light of the coming cold season. Hence, you can get trees at a lower cost, which would reduce your costs.
What if you’ve missed the window period? Is it still possible to plant your trees? Yes, but it’s not ideal. If you plant trees outside the recommended timeframe, winter might arrive before the plants’ roots are established. So while you can technically plant trees any time of year in Minnesota, it’s best to do so within the said window period.
Overcoming the Chill
Let’s assume that you plant your trees late in the season, say, in mid-November. How can you ensure they get through the winter chill? Here’re some helpful pointers:
- Don’t overstimulate growth – it’s natural to want our trees to grow quickly by fertilizing them. Well, this might be counterproductive if you’re planting late in the season. Fertilizing stimulates growth, which is the last thing you want at this point because it could cause the plant to break dormancy.
- Water – give your newly planted trees a good watering before the ground freezes. This helps them get through the dry winter months.
- Apply mulch – mulch is akin to your winter coat: it insulates your trees, especially the roots, allowing the plant to retain water.
- Keep an eye out – check on your trees regularly, especially the ones that are not well-established. While at it, ensure the mulch is still covering the root system and that the trees are well-watered. Also, if you had to stake your trees when planting them, check to ensure the stakes are still firm.
If unforeseen circumstances precluded you from planting your trees in the fall, stow them until winter passes – it’s only a season. Keep the plants in a sheltered spot, preferably where they can get some natural light. Remember to pack them with mulch and water them regularly. Prune them once they start to grow as you await spring to plant them.
Being late doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to join the party, does it? But, if you want your plants to avoid the stress of being transplanted in less-than-ideal conditions, stick to the recommended planting period. And with some care and attention, your trees can weather the winter and be ready to grow when spring comes knocking.
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