Can You Still Plant Trees In The Fall?

Ariel Canie | October 4, 2022 | 4 min read

You can plant trees in the fall. Here's how!

I/pages/types-of-trees-speciess it possible to plant trees in the fall — and more importantly, will they grow and continue to thrive throughout the winter months? As the seasons change and the temperature drops, this question inevitably comes up. 

The answer is: yes! In fact, fall is one of the best times to plant certain species of trees in specific areas of North America and the world. That's why, each year, we celebrate Plant a Tree Day on September 28th, a global day of action that inspires thousands of volunteers around the world to plant trees, remove invasive species, clean up litter, establish community gardens and more! 

A variety of tree species can still be planted in the fall and will survive during the harsh winter months. In fact, many trees in the northern hemisphere go through freeze-thaw cycles, and if they are planted in the fall, they will have plenty of time to establish their root systems before going through a freeze cycle and later growing branches and leaves. In other words: as long as you plant them approximately 6 weeks before they freeze, and they are native to the region, the trees should be fine.

Looking to plant a tree in your own yard this fall? Use the following steps to ensure success.

How to plant a tree this fall:

perfect lawn

Step 1: Find the perfect spot

Find a spacious spot that has access to sunlight and proper drainage.

Be sure to find a spot away from structures so that the branches and roots have enough space to grow.

soil gauge

Step 2: Check the soil

Use a soil thermometer to ensure that the ground is warm enough to plant a young tree. The temperature should be above 40°F (4 C). Don’t have a soil thermometer? Take a look around and see if most trees still have their leaves. If the majority are bare, hold off on planting as it is likely too cold. 

digging hole

STEP 3: DIG THE HOLE and Place the tree

Dig a hole that is 2-3 times wider than the container your tree is in. The hole should be deep enough so that the root collar (the point where the roots meet the trunk) is level or slightly above ground level. 

seedling with straw mulch

Step 4: Mulch around the base

Spread 2-3 inches of mulch over the soil to help absorb water and prevent weeds. Keep the mulch about 2 inches away from the trunk of the tree. 

watering tree sapling

STEP 5: Water your new tree!

Water your tree immediately after planting then about once a week during dry conditions to keep the soil moist.

staked tree seedlings

STEP 6: Stake it!

Use tree stakes to keep your tree upright if exposed to high winds. Stakes can usually be removed after a year of growing. 

We hope this has cleared up your questions about why we plant trees in the fall — and how you can do it yourself!

If you'd like a more in-depth explanation of how to plant trees, check out our Tree Planting Guide. Still want to leave the planting to us? Plant a tree today!

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. For Treecember, we're planting trees that support a global forest fire recovery fund. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Reforest lands damaged by record-setting fires
  • Support healthy habitat for iconic biodiversity
  • Plant tree species that will help reduce future fire impact
  • This holiday season, we’re planting trees in areas around the world that have been severely affected by forest fires and aren't able to recover a healthy ecosystem on their own. The most common naturally-caused wildfires occur during droughts or dry weather, and under these circumstances, trees and other vegetation are converted to flammable fuel. Human-caused forest fires can be a result of various activities like unregulated slash and burn agriculture, equipment failure or engine sparks, and discarded cigarettes.

    After wildfires, reforestation is essential in areas where the fire intensity burned off available seed supply within the soil, and/or where there are not enough healthy trees still growing and producing new seeds nearby. Reforestation starts once professional assessments have been made to determine where human intervention would be the most ecologically beneficial. Help restore these vital ecosystems by planting a tree. 🌿
  • Every year, forest fires are increasing in size and severity, damaging vital ecosystems and creating a need for millions of trees. Some major consequences of forest fires include significant loss of wildlife, loss of vegetation, soil erosion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

    With so much fire damage, reforestation is essential to catalyze the environmental recovery process. The trees are carefully planted to prevent invasive species from colonizing burn scars and restore quality habitat for native biodiversity. One Tree Planted is connecting with on-the-ground partners to establish viable reforestation projects when the recently affected regions are ready for planting. This fund will contribute to planting projects in British Columbia, Idaho, Ghana, Portugal, and beyond. Let's get to work! 🌲
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • To maximize the impact of your donation, our partners on the ground will determine the most appropriate species of tree and shrubs. We only plant native tree species that will restore the local ecosystem, re-establish wildlife habitat, and reduce the likelihood of future fires.

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