Our PSA on planting trees in the summer: At Cutting Edge Tree Professionals, we recommend not planting trees in the summertime, but waiting till early to mid-fall to plant in Pennsylvania.
We all know Pennsylvania is a state with four distinct seasons. In the northeast, those seasons each bring unique qualities for nature, wildlife, and even plants. Summertime, which we are at the front end of now, is when plants go through intense seasonal growth. Done with the dormancy of winter and also done waiting for the right temperatures that take their time in spring, plants are now at their highest penitential for growth. The sun provides the energy plants need to grow bigger, taller, and stronger—especially trees.
Planting trees in the summer takes away from this very important season. It means the tree will be going through a “growth spurt” while simultaneously trying to dig its roots deep and get the traction needed to sustain the growth.
Two reasons why this can cause stress on the tree:
- The soil is dryer as the sun absorbs water faster into the air compared to spring and fall. There is less water in the soil to sustain rapid grown.
- Temperatures are higher and the heat itself can cause stress on a newly planted tree.
One workaround to planting in the summer is if the tree has a strong root system being in a plastic container before planting. It needs to be watered extremely well for days at a time after being planted. Also, if it is a native tree to Pennsylvania, it will surely thrive better in general than a transplanted tree, new to the climate. (Check out our articles to learn more about what types of trees do well for this area “5 Best Trees to Plant in Pennsylvania” and “The Best Flowering Trees to Plant in Pennsylvania”.)
For most trees, planting in the fall (or spring) will ensure its survival and help it thrive. The air is cooler, trees are beginning to rest, and they still have time to establish root growth before going dormant for months. Our recommendation is to wait.
Understanding when to plant trees in PA is crucial to giving them the best start in life. While each season has its unique attributes, waiting until early to mid-fall to plant trees is preferable in Pennsylvania. This timescale allows newly planted trees to get a jump start on establishing their roots before the winter’s dormancy period. Spring could be another viable choice, as it provides ample time for the tree to adjust before the summer heat. Ultimately, creating a tree planting schedule around these periods would offer the optimal chance for their survival and growth.