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!

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Longleaf Pine Restoration
Longleaf Pine Tree Planter
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Longleaf Pine Landscape
Longleaf Pine Planting
Longleaf Pine Main Image
Longleaf Pine Restoration
Longleaf Pine Tree Planter
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Longleaf Pine Landscape
Longleaf Pine Planting

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. This project is currently supporting Longleaf Pine Restoration. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Protect wildlife habitat and increase biodiversity
  • Restore essential watersheds for soil stability and erosion control
  • Sequester carbon in the biomass of the forests through climate stability
  • Longleaf pine forests are among the most biodiverse in North America and provide habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species. Longleaf pine forests are well-adapted to a warming climate as longleaf pine is a resilient species that is fire-dependent, drought-tolerant, and long-lived. Reforestation of longleaf pine ecosystems- to increase, maintain, and enhance the species- has been identified as a priority area within America's Longleaf Range Wide Conservation Plan. 🌲
  • Our longleaf pine reforestation project will restore habitats, control soil erosion, and sequester carbon in an effort to stabilize the climate in the area. Not only will wildlife benefit from the clean air and water provided by the planted trees, but the surrounding community will, too. This project will work with a variety of landowners whose responsible forest management and stewardship will only further increase the benefits for species residing on the lands. Some of the most notable species that will benefit from habitat restoration include gopher tortoises, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and eastern indigo snakes
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about our Longleaf Pine Restoration project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the ground!
  • We always plant a mix of diverse, native species from local nurseries. This project is working to replenish longleaf forests, so the native species grown in the nurseries will mainly be longleaf pine, but also include shortleaf pine and loblolly pine.

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