It’s hard to sell trees in the fall. Just ask a landscaper or anyone who works at a garden center. Customers seem to think fall planting is risky. After all, winter is coming. And planting in December? In Vermont? That seems even more foolish.
But it’s not. To wit: Our Vermont garden center arranged delivery of a 15,000 lb., 35-foot linden, which was planted on Dec. 2 in Montpelier, VT. Brian Mitchell, who coordinated the delivery, says it’s the largest tree we’ve ever brought in (from a grower in Massachusetts).
Why is it safe? Because the tree has already gone dormant for the winter. “In simple terms,” Mitchell says, “the tree is asleep.”
So, if you find a late-season bargain, it’s not necessarily too late to plant. There are some things to be aware of, though:
- Make sure the tree or shrub you’ve chosen a species that’s known to be reliable in late-season plantings. The landscape company that planted our linden knows it to thrive—even when planted at this time of year in this area. Some species, such as birch and red maple, are better off when planted in spring.
- Make sure the root ball has been protected from freezing. This tree was in the ground up until two days before transplant, so it was well-protected. However, an exposed root ball is likely to suffer damage, especially if temperatures dip into the 20s and below.
- Make sure you can dig the hole, and that you have soil available for back-filling.
- Large specimens are best planted by professional landscapers, who have the equipment to handle the plant with care.