October is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs – for several reasons.

Horticulturally, it makes sense because temperatures are low and it is one of Maine’s wetter months, meaning the plants suffer less transplant shock than they would in the summer.

Second, nurseries have sales at this time because they do not want to store these plants over the winter.

Planting instructions differ only slightly from the rest of the year. Dig a hole at least twice as wide as the root ball or pot that the plant comes in and the same depth as the root ball or pot.

Fill the hole with water and let it drain, and then fill it again. Place the tree in the hole so that the root flare will not be buried.

Back fill with soil you took from the hole. At this time of year, you do not add fertilizer or rich compost because you don’t want to promote new growth.

Tamp the soil down and create a ring of soil (sort of like a dam) around the edge to hold water. And water the transplant every day it doesn’t rain. Don’t stop until the ground freezes.

Next spring, the tree or shrub will have a head start.


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