Whilst most of nature is hibernating in the colder months, winter is the prime time to get new trees into the ground.
Trees are best planted in the late autumn, especially bare rooted varieties. Newly planted trees do best when exposed to moderate temperatures and rainfall and they need time to root and acclimatize before the onset of summer heat or the harsher temperatures of winter. Container grown trees can be planted at any time of the year providing the soil/ground is not frozen or water logged.
If you’re planning to plant trees in the garden then do it now before the ground gets too hard or frozen, whilst you can still position them in wet and dry land. They can tolerate acidic, chalky, sandy and clay soils and come in all shapes and sizes.
Trees can add structure to the landscape and garden and some make excellent hedges and screens whilst others are ideal as statement specimens. From flowering cherries and crab apples to evergreen yews and weeping willows trees offer different leaf size, shape and colour. Many have attractive flowers, fruits and seeds and there are those that flower magnificently in spring and those whose leaves offer brilliant autumn colour just before leaf fall.
Steve McCurdy of Majestic Trees has recommended the top ten trees to plant this autumn:
1. Himalyan Birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii)
2. Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
3. Snowy Mespilus (Amerlanchier lamarckii)
4. Christmas berry 'Red Robin' (Photinia fraserii ‘Red Robin’)
5. Freeman's Maple (Acer freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’)
6. English oak (Quercus robur)
7. Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
8. Crab apple (Malus ‘Evereste’)
9. Crab apple (Malus ‘Rudolph’)
10. Vilmorin's mountain ash (Sorbus vilmorinii)
By planting trees you can reduce or improve your carbon footprint and generally enhance the environment. Trees can transform an area by introducing welcome shade, protective shelter and wildlife and are an investment for future generations. Research in HTA’s Greening the UK campaign has shown that just a 10% increase in tree coverage in urban areas will counter the predicted 4°c temperature over the next 100 years caused by climate change and the urban heat island effect.
All trees require some support and protection such as stakes, tree ties and tree guards. Fertiliser can be added to the planting hole and mulch can be added after planting to preserve moisture and keep down weeds.
Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA’s Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good each month. For more details, please click here.
As part of the Plan it, Plant it this Autumn campaign, the Horticultural Trades Association is also encouraging gardeners to celebrate the 38th annual National Tree Week, which is run by The Tree Council from 23 November - 1 December 2013 and will mark the launch of the tree planting season. For more information on Plan it, Plant it, this Autumn, please click here.