Planting trees in the fall is often considered the best time of year for landscaping. The combination of cooler temperatures and fall rain allows trees to establish their roots, making it easier for them to adapt to extreme heat or summer drought. Late August, September and October are the ideal months for planting new trees. The cooler temperatures cause plants to lose less water through their leaves due to perspiration than when it's hot.
This reduces the chances of plants experiencing stress and more energy can be spent on root production. Abundant rainfall usually occurs during the fall, which also helps woody plants to become established. A healthy, well-established root system goes a long way to ensuring vigorous growth in spring. To get the most out of trees, set them up for success by planting them at the right time of year.
The basic concept is to plan the planting in a way that follows a period of moderate weather, giving the tree time to become established. Plants with bare roots are less expensive than plants grown in containers and plants with balls and burlap because the nursery has invested less material and labor in producing them. For this reason, plants such as magnolia, tulip, oak and ginkgo are more suitable for planting in spring. Plants with fibrous, shallow roots are often the best options to plant in the fall because they recover faster than those with large, thick taproots.
If you experience harsh summers on a regular basis, plan to plant early enough in spring, as soon as the soil is in working condition. Generally speaking, the best time to plant deciduous trees is between late August and early spring (except when the ground is frozen), when they are inactive. Container-grown trees and trees with balls and burlap are the most expensive options; the intermediate option is the plant with bare roots.