Optimal Time of Year to Plant a Tree
Maryland is known for its extreme weather patterns. In the winter, we face freezing temperatures, ice, and snowstorms, and the summer brings intense heat and humidity. It’s important for Marylanders who are considering planting trees and shrubs on their property to consider when the best time of year is to do so.
It’s best to avoid extreme temperatures when planting as that can hinder growth and even kill the young tree. We recommend you plant in the transition seasons from late winter to mid-spring after the ground thaws and the temperature warms up or from early fall to mid-fall right before the cold winter temps set in.
For species like dogwoods, hawthorns, magnolias, poplars, oaks, and willows, the best time for planting is in the spring. Species like sycamore, crabapple, spruce, and pine do best with fall planting.
When to Prune Your Trees
A common question is when is the best time to prune? Before we answer that question, let’s first talk about what pruning is exactly.
What Is Pruning?
This process involves either shortening branches or removing entire limbs using a variety of shears, hand saws, chain saws, and pole saws. Pruning is vital for the health of the tree as it helps prevent disease, eliminates dead or dying branches, and promotes flowering. It also is essential for the safety of you, your family, and your property and trains the tree(s) to grow in a desired shape.
One of the biggest benefits of pruning is to promote long-term health. Diseased and dying branches need to be removed so healthy parts of the tree are protected and have the necessary space to grow.
Pruning also allows flowering species, such as Dogwood and Magnolia, to produce healthier flowers and fruits. If there are fewer branches and less fruit to manage, the tree can use its energy towards producing healthier fruit.
Because dead and weak branches can easily fall and injure someone or damage property, it’s essential to remove them with regular inspections and trimming. If you have large trees near your house, we recommend you get them inspected by a professional arborist at least once every three years.
Training & Growth
Pruning helps maintain desired shape and structure. In a sense, it allows you to “train” the limbs to grow a certain way. You’re able to remove unwanted limbs that could cause abnormal growth and better control what the tree looks like at full maturity.
Think of it this way — just like removing your wisdom teeth to protect your other teeth from overcrowding, certain branches and limbs need to be removed to allow other branches room to grow properly. In addition to training, pruning also encourages flowering and fruit growth in certain species.
When to Prune & Trim
Now that we’ve discussed the process and benefits of pruning, let’s consider when the best time of year is in Maryland to do this.
Because the process involves making cuts to remove unwanted limbs, it creates wounds in the wood that need time to heal. To prevent disease from insects, fungi, and bacteria that come in the spring, it’s best to prune in the colder winter months.
Doing this in the winter allows the wood to heal from the cuts and wounds before spring growth begins. However, certain species like Evergreens, for example, should be pruned during the growth period because they are at risk of getting tip burn if they’re pruned in colder temperatures.
When to Water Newly Planted Trees
For Marylanders who are considering planting or have recently planted new trees, it’s important to know when and how often to water them.
For new trees, you should regularly water them for about two years after planting, which is about how long it takes for the roots to strengthen. Right after you plant, it’s important to check the soil everyday for two weeks. If the soil is dry 4-6 inches below the surface, then water the roots until the top 4-6 inches are saturated. Be careful not to overwater!
Another important consideration is what time of day is best to water. The best time to do so is in the morning when temperatures are cooler as warmer temperatures increase the evaporation rate. However, avoid watering when the ground is freezing.
Whether you’re considering planting new trees or have already done so, these are just a few simple steps that will help in the process. If you’re looking for a professional arborist in Anne Arundel County, consider calling Mike Timber’s Tree Removal located in Davidsonville! Their team of dedicated arborists would be happy to take care of your landscaping needs and make suggestions on planting and pruning. Give them a call today!
Recently remove a tree from your property? What to do with the stump…check out our article on stump grinding and removal!