Nature’s Planting Season Is Here
Autumn is a wonderful time in the garden.
The leaves begin to change, and the varied hues of that change lend themselves to the most beautiful display of cooler in your garden. You get to admire the stunning burnt orange and gold leaves synonymous with autumn as spring fades and we move into the next season. Also, the fruit on the trees is ripe and birds and other wildlife come to the gardens at this time to collect winter stores. It is a great time for you to get out into garden and prepare it for winter by getting some necessary planting done.
But why is autumn nature’s planting season?
The best times of year for planting are during the autumn months through to late winter in mild climates like ours here in Auckland. Why? There are a number of factors at play here. Planting outside the cooler months of autumn and winter often requires additional watering. In autumn and winter, however, the plants are less active and can better deal with the stress of planting. The ground is moist and more receptive to root growth. This means you won’t need to water as much or at all, saving you money and time.
Most trees have what we call a “planting shock” for up to the first two years after planting. In this time the tree established roots in the surrounding soil outside the planting pit. The care of the newly planted tree in these two years is called after care. Throughout this time, therefore, it is most important that you keep the soil moist and ensure that the any bindings are set correctly. Most arborists will recommend ensuring a good layer of mulch around the tree to reduce the loss of moisture from the soil through evaporation.
Don’t just take our word for it – if you search for nature’s planting season, numerous articles will reinforce our advice.
Wherever I lay my roots, that’s my home…
A tree planted in nature’s planting season has the best chance to put down some roots before winter, meaning that it will have a head start when the growing season starts in spring. Planting in hot dry and / or windy conditions is never a good idea as there is a real chance that the roots of the tree are already damaged by drying out before the tree is even in the planting pit.
Autumn is therefore regarded by those in the gardening, landscape and arborist industries as the best time to plant. Are you taking advantage of it?
If you are planting now, what do you need to prioritize?
So, you have decided to plant some trees, and that’s fantastic, but you might now be wondering if there is any preparation required or preventative measures that need to be taken…
Tree Care Auckland would advise you take some of the following measures into consideration to ensure that your plantings have the best chance for success.
- Before you start, be sure to assess the site where you want to plant. Consider the size of the planting and the location of the site. For example, large trees need a large area for their roots to develop and grow, don’t plant large trees in a small area.
- Consider what you want to achieve with what you are planting Eg are you wanting it to be a feature, or are you planting for extra shade, is there enough space for the roots to grow and spread, are there any features you need to avoid such as power lines or piping? There could be mitigating factors that you need to consider. A poorly planted tree or shrub may never reach its full potential.
- Once you are satisfied with the location – the next step is to assess the soil saturation. Put into simple terms, this means having an idea of whether the site has moist soil or dry soil? Is it at some time during the year prone to being waterlogged? What is the PH value of your soil? All of these questions need to be asked before you start you tree selection as not every tree fits every soil.
- Identify or consider any pest populations that might become a problem. Understanding the diseases associated with what you are planting may enable you to better combat problems later.
- Consider pruning dead, broken or interfering branches from neighbouring plants. We recommend that a skilled arborist should making the pruning decisions and cuts.
- Check for any structural weaknesses or defects in what you are planting but also in the neighbouring trees. This might be more of a general concern that something that will impact what you are planting but it’s absolutely worth your consideration. As with the last point, a skilled arborist is often a worthwhile investment at this stage in the process.
- Finish planting and leave the surface with loose texture and make sure you water it thoroughly and attend to it keenly over the first few days and weeks after planting.
Reference to our planting guide https://www.treecareauckland.co.nz/how-to-plant-a-tree-guide/
What are your planting options during Autumn?
We generally recommend planting native trees and shrubs during this ideal time frame as it helps our native fauna and flora develop. Seasonality has provided nature’s planting season and we want to take advantage of it!
Using native trees and shrubs in your garden also reduce the amount of pruning you will need to do or pay for as the plants generally grow slower. But no matter if you decide on a pretty pohutukawa or a magnificent Magnolias, trees both native and otherwise have enhanced the New Zealand landscape for generations. There are so many options available to you and there is something that will suit any site or any style (depending on what you want to achieve). Even in a small plot a large tree can make a beautiful feature and add value to your property as an asset.
I don’t know what to plant…
It is a good idea to first have a look at what is available at your local garden centre or nursery and then if you have any specific questions about if this tree will suit your location an Arborist for their advice.
In summary, now is the time (well if we get some rain) to act if you want to reinvigorate, refresh or re-design the planting in your garden.