Fall Tree and Shrub Planting

It has been five years since we moved to Sulphur Springs and I started helping our community as a County Agent for Hopkins County.    It has been an exciting time and every day is an adventure on itself. I remember my supervisor talking to me about activities for the days when the office gets slow but until today, I have not seen any of those days yet. With our fall festival celebrations almost over, I wanted to share information related to fall tree planting by Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, Landscape Horticulturist,Texas Agrilife Extension Service wrote: “Finally, fall is here. The weather is becoming slightly cooler, and gardeners are slowly migrating back outdoors after record breaking heat this summer. Now is a perfect time to add a new tree or a grouping of shrubs to the landscape. Or perhaps you have an area in the landscape that needs ‘remodeling’ or rejuvenating. The fall may be the best season to plant, surpassing even the spring. Many people prefer January through March for planting, but the fall months of September through December have distinct advantages. Fall planting follows the heat of summer, before a cool winter season, and trees and shrubs planted in the fall use this to good advantage. Plant roots grow anytime the soil temperature is 40 degrees or higher, which may occur all winter in Texas. During the winter months, the root systems of the fall-planted specimens develop and become established. When spring arrives, this expanded root system can support and take advantage of the full surge of spring growth.Fall is the optimum time to plant balled and burlapped trees and shrubs. Balled and burlapped plants have ample time to recover from transplanting and proliferate roots before spring growth begins. Remember, however, all bare root plants, including roses and pecan and fruit trees, should be planted in late winter when they are completely dormant. When buying plants for your landscape, be sure to get healthy, well-grown plants. Always buy from a reputable dealer. Those in the plant-selling business year-round depend on repeat customers, and only by selling customers quality plants can there be assurance of future business. Beware of plant bargains. They can easily turn out to be real headaches. A bargain is no good if it dies. The price tag, especially the cheapest one, is not the best guide to quality. All plants have growing requirements. Think about the plant’s needs before you invest. Is it adapted to your area’s soil? Will it grow in sun or shade? Does it need a wet or dry location? Is it cold hardy? Some nurseries have this type of information on tags beside the plant. If not, ask a nursery professional or the county Extension agent. ‘Plan before you plant’ is always a good rule of thumb. Whether you are planting a single plant or an entire landscape, plan first, then plant. Good planning is a worthwhile investment of time that will pay off in greater enjoyment of attractive and useful home grounds, and in increasing the value of your home. It’s much easier to move plants on paper then to dig them after planting in the wrong place. A plan saves many planting mistakes. Every plant in the landscape should serve a purpose. Ask yourself if you want a plant for screening, for privacy, or for shade. How large will it be five years from now? Plants, like people, grow up. Remember, that a small one-gallon-size plant will look entirely different after a few years of growth in your landscape. Plant properly for success. Here are a few guidelines on getting the job done right:

a)     Dig a hole large enough in diameter so that the root system has at least six inches of clearance on all sides. The root ball should rest on a solid soil foundation, so don’t dig the hole much deeper than the ball.

b)    Plant the tree or shrub slightly above the level of the surrounding soil, to allow for settling and increased soil drainage.

c)     Carefully place the tree or shrub in the hole. Handle the plant by the root ball, not by the trunk. A broken ball of earth can mean a dead plant. Always remove any container before you plant.

d)    Backfill the hole, using only the native soil removed from the hole; do not use soil amendments when planting large shrubs and trees. Fill the hole, and firm the soil around the plant. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and to eliminate any air pockets.

e)     Do not fertilize your tree or shrub after planting. Wait until early in the spring to do this, and even then, go lightly. Heavy applications of fertilizer may burn and injure the root system, and could possibly kill the plant.

f)     Watering has been and remains paramount in transplanting. At the time of transplanting, soak the root ball and surrounding soil. A thorough watering every 7 to 10 days dramatically increases the success ratio. More frequent watering may encourage root rot. Remember more trees and shrubs fail from over watering then from under watering.

g)    Before calling it a day, add 4 to 6 inches of mulch around the base of newly planted trees and shrubs. This helps to keep down weeds and conserve soil moisture. Use pine bark, compost, grass clippings, or leaves.

Fall is for planting. Visit your nursery today, and beautify and add value to your home”. It has been estimated an increase property value of $2,000 for each tree in your property. Remember: many potential land and property buyers look into buying in east Texas because the trees. I personally think is a good idea to replace older trees with different types to maintain or add value to your property.

Coming Up: Private Applicator Credits at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center  scheduled for Wednesday November 5, 2014  9:00-3:00 PM (1 Gen, 3 IPM, and 1 L&R)  (Course 0704883). The program will include from 09:00-10:00 Integrated control of flies in livestock operations- Dr. Sonja Swiger- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension- Stephenville, Texas. 10:00-11:00 Armyworms and Grasshopper Control – Dr. Sonja Swiger- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension- Stephenville, Texas.11:00 to 12:00 Laws and regulations update- Janet Hurley- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension- Dallas, 12:00-01:00 Lunch catered by Andy Wright, 1:00-2:00 Protecting our waters from pesticide pollution- Dr. Fouad Jaber- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension- Dallas. 2:00-3:00 Integrated weed control in pasture land in Northeast Texas- Jason Holt from USDA- Natural Resource Conservation Service. The cost of the seminar is $25 (Lunch included)  Please register by October 27, 2014 by calling 903-885-3443.Program organized by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Hopkins County. Program partially sponsored by NETBIO.

For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].
Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D.
Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR
1200B Houston Street
Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482


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