Why We Avoid Summer Planting

We’re offering camp for kids this summer!
My tree has a lean, what does that mean?

By: Kate Bolkin

Summer is just around the corner and we’ve been getting tons of requests from folks wanting to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and start tree planting projects.  We love that so many of y’all are enthusiastic about growing our canopy, but you may want to consider pausing your plans.  Here at TreesCharlotte, we don’t have any new planting projects until late September and we recommend that you do the same.  So why the long wait?  Now would be a great time to get together, enjoy the summer sun, play some music, and build community by planting trees, right?  Well, the trees may disagree with you.

When a young tree is planted, it can be a really stressful time.  It has to get used to different soil, establish its roots, and deal with new environmental factors.  All of that plus the sweltering heat and intense summer sunlight can cause your young tree to stress out even more.  All this stress diminishes the baby tree’s strength, which it needs to survive its winter dormancy and successfully bud out next spring.  Therefore, it is well known amongst the arboriculture community that planting trees in the summer is not ideal.

Not to mention, during late spring and summer, trees put most of their energy into photosynthesis, rather than growing roots.  Planting trees during times of active root growth (which takes place in mainly during fall and spring, and a bit in the winter) will ensure that new trees get the water, nutrients, and stability they need to survive.  This is why our TreesCharlotte planting season takes place from late September to end of March.

So, does that mean planting trees during the summer is impossible?  Nope.  If you really want to plant in the summer, it is best to plant a containerized tree rather than a bare-root tree because containerized trees typically have a stronger root system in place.  Once planted, you must be extremely diligent about watering.  More details about watering can be found here.  For a summer-planted tree, you may need to water more often than what is typically recommended, so be sure to check for soil dryness a few times per week instead of weekly.   And don’t forget to mulch your tree properly so it can retain moisture.  But the best advice we can give about planting trees in the summer is to simply wait until the fall.  Your tree will thank you for it.

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