Return To Blog

When is the best time to plant trees?

Fall is an ideal time to have trees delivered and planted in your yard!

By Chris Leinster - November 7, 2018

I’m often asked “when is the best time to plant trees?” I like to answer “about twenty years ago!” (LOL) We like to say we plant trees so our grandchildren will have shade, but if that were literally true Happy Trees would have few customers indeed. While it will take some time for the trees we plant to fulfill their intended purpose, you will likely see satisfying results within three to five years. We can’t always promise instant gratification, however you will experience the immediate joy of flowers, fall color, or winter interest while waiting for the trees to mature.

Spring is without question our busiest time for planting. We become ensconced with an abundant display of flowers bursting with color and people flock to the garden centers to convey some of that beauty into their yards. Spring is a fine time for planting, however it can be stressful to transport trees as the buds break and they emerge from their winter slumber. If flower color is critical for you, select trees in spring when they are in bloom.

Sales remain strong through summer, but the trees likely will expel their energy establishing roots into the soil and you may not experience much top growth for the first season. Keep the trees watered as summer heat can stress newly planted trees. Nevertheless, summer is a great time to plant as well.

What about fall? The leaves have dropped and we’ve experienced our first snows and chilly temperatures. Despite Colorado’s wild rollercoaster weather we still experience many mild days with temperatures in the forties to sixties- perfect for transporting and planting large caliper trees!

Fall is actually an ideal time of year to plant. The trees are going into winter dormancy so they are less likely to suffer transplant shock. Roots grow into the soil even after the leaves have dropped, and again in the spring long before leaves emerge on the branches. The trees will over-winter in your yard and will undergo a burst of spring growth as the temperatures warm up. Keep an eye on winter watering as we don’t want the soil to dry out completely, but this is true for all of your landscape plants regardless of when or how long ago they were planted.

But no winter planting, right? Nobody thinks about planting over the winter, but actually the advice I gave for fall planting applies to winter as well. We need to keep an eye on overnight temperatures and oncoming storms, and we can’t dig if the ground is frozen. We are usually shut out from about mid-December to mid-January, but other than that if we can dig, we can plant! The trees are either going to over-winter in our nurseries or in your yard, so if you have a compelling need to plant over the winter months I say go for it and give us a call!

Trees can be dug only when they are dormant, so they are harvested in late winter or early fall. The trees you buy throughout the summer were dug months ago and stored for summer delivery. Trees are being harvested now and are arriving weekly ready for planting. We have an excellent selection of the best trees ready to deliver and plant in your yard.

Truth be told, there is no great time to plant in Colorado. Spring brings late frosts and potential hail. Heat stress and transplant shock are the bane of summer. Fall can see early snow or cold snaps, and winter storms can snap branches or even whole tree trunks! Its no wonder we see no trees when we look out over the plains, but with our expert planting services and care advice, there’s no reason we can’t plant your favorite trees whenever you’re ready to start enjoying the many benefits your trees provide. Give Happy Trees a call today and get those trees planted so your grandchildren can have shade!