Falling Leaves and Planting Trees: Why Fall is a Great Time to Plant Trees in Maryland

Posted on: October 11, 2018

Sandwiched between summer’s hot days and bone-numbing temperatures to come in winter, is the level-headed season of Fall. And though we typically associate it with falling leaves, Fall is a great time to plant trees in Baltimore County.

In Baltimore County, our winters can serve up mild days backed up to freezing temperatures and our summers can start early and stay late. That’s why planting trees in Maryland in October and November provide for some of the most consistent temperatures of the year. Avoiding temperature extremes is one of the most important ingredients to the health of a newly planted tree.

Though many of us think students go back to school in the Fall, Fall officially begins with the autumnal equinox in late September. The best time to plant in the fall is six weeks before the first sign of a hard frost. Cooler and shorter days mean trees require less water. And the soil stays warm even though the air temperature is dropping, a perfect climate for growing.

Fall is all about root development. While you won’t see much growth in your plantings until spring, rest assured all the work is being done underground. Once roots are established in the Fall and the dormancy of winter, showers in the spring and summer sun encourages new top growth.

And the well-established root system will be better equipped for summer’s heat and lack of rainfall.

Here are some tree species you can plant this fall in Maryland:

  • Maple
  • Elm
  • Sycamore
  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Ash
  • Crabapple
  • Linden

Late-winter through mid-spring and early through mid-fall, are the best times to plant woody ornamentals. Some plants are difficult to transplant, and these should be limited to spring planting.

Those recommended for spring planting include birches, dogwoods, European hornbeams, hawthorns, golden raintree, magnolias, oaks, flowering pears, poplars, sourwood, sweet gum, tulip tree, willows, and zelkova. While broadleaf evergreens are best planted in the spring, some like mountain laurel, boxwood, and hollies can be planted in the early fall if they are given deep watering and a thick acid mulch.

Here is a full list of recommended trees for the Mid-Atlantic region, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The experts at Lerch Brothers Landscape Contractors can help you determine the best tree species for your landscaping needs.

In addition to planting new trees, Fall is also a good time to fertilize your existing ones, especially if they have not been fertilized in 3-4 years and seem to be growing slowly. Trees and shrubs can be fertilized as long as the ground is not frozen. Trees that are surrounded by lawn do not need fertilization. For some species Fall is also the best time to prune trees because you can see the structure of the branches. Avoid pruning flowering trees and shrubs until after the bloom period or you risk losing next year’s spring bloom.

If you are thinking about your next landscape design project, Fall is the best time to have the experts at Lerch Brothers Landscape Contractors help you create your vision. Call us for an introductory consultation and site analysis, your first step to your custom outdoor living project.