Dispelling the Seasonal Myth

Authored by Sheldon Falk - Owner
May 8th, 2023
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As we roll into spring people are itching to get into the greenhouse and begin filling their yards with flowers, trees, and veggies. However, first thing in May many customers are hesitant to put their plants in the ground and rightfully so.

We have all felt the betrayal of a late spring frost. And as far as annuals go we will always recommend you wait until after May Long to even consider putting your little flowers into the ground. But did you know that this season is actually the best season for planting trees and shrubs? Trees and shrubs transition to their new environment so much better why they are still dormant (no leaves).

It’s funny, people often think that summer is the best time to plant trees and there isn’t anything wrong with that, however early spring and late fall are the prime times for planting your future shade. Due to the heat in summer, it can cause stress on the tree to adjust to their new environment as well as compete with the intense heat and the possible shortage of water. In spring they don’t need quite as much water as they are still in their dormancy, and they don’t have to worry about the heat beating down on them and stealing their moisture. Not to mention that planting in the cooler seasons are easier on you the laborour then the sun scalding summer days.

The one thing to watch for is that there isn’t any frost in the soil. Frozen dirt is incredibly hard to dig up! Early spring and late fall is also great time to transplant already planted trees, shrubs, and perennials. Again, in their dormancy they will have an easier time transitioning. However, if you have trees or shrubs that are grown early in a greenhouse and already have leaves, I would wait on those. The reason being is that the frost could damage those leaves if it is more than -2 or -3. This is also true about perennials and annuals (for the most part.) There are exceptions like the cold crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc… All of these can handle -5 to -7! But if you’re planting a Hosta that’s in full leaf it could take some serious frost damage. On the flip side, if you’re planting peonies, you should be fine, peonies are incredibly hardy and can leaf out through a light frost with little to no damage.

It is always good to ask the questions, but the big question about planting and transplanting trees or shrubs now that are dormant can be settled. If the ground is thawed, you can plant. Go ahead. Enjoy your yard early!

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