The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service in Augusta reminds everyone that fall is an ideal time of year to plant native trees.

“Because it takes approximately six weeks for roots to get established, the general rule for tree planting during fall is to get them in the ground by Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” said Aaron Bergdahl, MFS Forest Pathologist, according to a news release from MFS. “Roots need time to establish and cold weather and frozen ground shuts down root growth, and the soil temperature needs to be at least 55°, at a 6-inch depth.”

Some trees do better than others when planted at the growing season’s end. In general, plants with shallow, fibrous root systems do better with fall planting than those with a deep taproot. “Planting trees in early September provides enough time for root growth and establishment at the new site before soil temperatures drop and trees enter their dormancy period. This prepares trees for a head start on vigorous growth in the spring,” said Bergdahl, according to the release.

Tips for fall planting
• Don’t prune newly planted trees — pruning newly planted trees and shrubs encourage top growth instead of root growth, where it is needed most.
• Whenever you decide to plant trees in your yard, make sure you put the “right tree in the right place.” Trees that grow 80-100 feet tall don’t belong under power lines, and, likely, a weeping willow or river birch won’t be happy in that hot, dry corner of your yard.
• When choosing what type of tree to plant, the MFS recommends looking into whether the tree is likely to become a problem in natural areas in the future by consulting the advisory list from the DACF’s Maine Natural Areas program.
• Be aware that some species on the advisory list are also illegal to import, export, buy, sell, or intentionally propagate such as Norway and amur maple, tree-of-heaven and princess tree. The ban includes all cultivars, varieties and hybrids of these plants.
• Research what will be needed to maintain the tree in the landscape. Some trees, such as true ashes, will require frequent insecticide treatments as emerald ash borer spreads. Several sites have excellent information that sums up some of these considerations for different species. If you don’t find the information on the species you wish to plant, ask our experts.

For more information, visit maine.gov.

Several handy tools exist to assist in selecting the best tree for any landscape:
• Morton Arboretum Tree Selector – mortonarb.org;
• Arbor Day Foundation Best Tree Finder: Tree Wizard – arborday.org; and
• iTree Species Selector – species.itreetools.org.


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