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Tree Planting: Fall is Better Than Spring

October 30, 2014 by Kristen Hansen, Garden Center Group Leader

While most people associate spring with planting, avid gardeners know fall is an excellent time for planting trees, shrubs, bulbs and more.

Why? In the fall, air temperatures begin to drop but soil temperatures remain warm (much warmer than in the spring). In addition, plant pests usually go by the wayside in the fall, meaning there’s less getting in the way of your tree’s health. Planting your tree during the fall gives the roots time to acclimate with the soil, rest and get ready for the rush of spring growth ahead. And moderate temperatures aren’t only good for the trees – they make it easier for those who are doing the planting as well!

While our Garden Center is closed for the season, our team remains busy with fall planting around our property and at clients’ homes and businesses.

A great tree to plant right now is an oak. In 1961, the Iowa General Assembly designated the oak tree as Iowa’s official state tree, according to Iowa State University Forestry Extension. They chose the oak because there’s so many in the state and they provide shelter, food and nesting cover for many animals and birds.

A really nice type of oak tree is the swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). This is a medium sized tree that can live up to 350 years and can withstand the elements, even our fickle Iowa weather. The swamp oak has unique peeling bark and dark green lobed leaves with silvery-white undersides. They’re tolerant of poor soil conditions and will acclimate to both wet and dry soils, including Iowa’s spring floods and summer droughts!

Fall technically goes until December 20, but we recommend tree planting only until the ground freezes. That’s just around the corner, so make sure you get started soon!

If you have any questions about tree planting, or planting of any living thing, please give us a call at 515.987.0800, or email us with questions! We’d be happy to help.

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