Planting in the Winter

It is okay to plant trees and shrubs in the winter. Even though it is late in the season, your shrubs will be happier in the ground than in pots. Ideally, trees and shrubs need about a month to establish roots before a heavy freeze, but it’s actually okay to plant them anytime the ground is workable. The key to success is to have your new plants in the ground as long as possible prior to the hot and dry summer days. Even if the plants are put in during winter they are slowly putting down roots as it warms up on and off during the winter months.

We have planted well into January and even February with success, though the plantings may not look as beautiful as they can until the weather warms up in the spring. As long as they are in the ground properly they are going to be that much more ahead of a spring planting that may end up getting scheduled in late April or early May. Those plants will also do well, but they will not have as much time to put down good roots as your plantings that went in during mild winter days.

Here are a few tips for seeing your late-season plantings through the winter:

  • Avoid stimulating growth: Don’t fertilize or overly amend the soil. You can add a little compost and bone meal (to stimulate root growth), but hold off on fertilizer until spring.
  • Don’t disturb the plant: Avoid pruning (on new plants), and be very gentle with the roots while planting. The shrub won’t have time to recover from damage, and it’s going to be stressed enough as it is.
  • Keep plants watered: The worst part of cold damage is caused by desiccation, or drying out. Keep new shrubs watered every week or two until the ground freezes, and especially right before a heavy freeze.
  • Watch out for frost heaving: Make sure the plants stay firmly planted when the ground freezes.
  • Apply Mulch: Add mulch to keep newly planted shrubs insulated.

If you’d like more advice on types of plants to plant in the Winter or if you’d like professional assistance with your new plants, contact us today!

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