College of ACES
College News

Fall Tree Planting

Published September 29, 2008
Fall can be a good time for planting trees and shrubs, says University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Nancy Pollard.

Keep the plant well watered until transplanting. How deep should you plant it? Pollard says that while the tree is still in the container, look for the point where the trunk slightly flares out and the roots angle down.

The natural flare should be about two inches above the soil line when planted in clay or poorly drained soil, or exactly at soil level if the soil is sandy or loamy.

Backfill the hole with soil up to the base of the flare. Don't cover the root flare. She likes to partially backfill, add water, allow it to drain, and then add the rest of the soil. Then water again.

Throughout the subsequent months, consistent watering is critical. But don't overwater.

She says to water about every three weeks throughout the winter when there are thaws or if there is little rainfall.

With care in tree selection, proper planting depth, and good watering and mulching practices, the majority of trees are able to overcome transplant shock.

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