Winter’s Silent Growth: The Optimal Season for Tree Planting

Winter is the perfect time for tree planting, and for taking on any other soft landscaping jobs around your property. So if this is in your site development plan, then you need to get into gear pretty quickly!

When it comes to planting trees, most people might envision sunny spring days or the vibrant colours of autumn. But it is winter that is the season for planting trees, when they have become dormant, and before the sap rises in the spring again.

November to early-March is the perfect time to embark on soft landscaping projects such as tree planting. There is the added advantage that everything else has died down for the winter, meaning you can concentrate on this as a task outdoors without the distractions of the pace of high-summer grounds maintenance.

In this article, we'll explore why tree planting in winter is an ideal choice, offering benefits for both the trees and the environment.


Winter Is the Time To Plant Dormant Trees

During winter, trees are in a state of dormancy. This means they have ceased their active growth and have shifted energy resources from leaves and branches to their roots. Planting during this period allows the tree to focus on root development, which is critical for its long-term health and stability.

Depending on where you are in the country, your trees will have entered a state of dormancy sometime during the colder weather of November – which also makes it a perfect time for reshaping or pruning established trees as well. So if establishing more trees, and attending to tree maintenance is on your grounds maintenance plan, the depths of winter is perfect timing.


Winter Planting Reduces Risk of Stress To Young Trees & Helps Them Establish Successfully

Although you can plant trees in hot and dry conditions - a common activity for domestic properties during the summer for those who have bought potted trees from garden centres - it can cause significant stress to young trees.

The heat and limited moisture availability can lead to transplant shock and hinder their establishment. In winter, trees are less prone to stress because they are not actively transpiring water through their leaves. Trees supplied for winter planting often come as bare-root plants as well, which makes them cheaper to buy in bulk, as well as easier to handle than potted in-leaf trees.


Soil Preparation Tips For Tree Planting

Winter is an excellent time for ground and soil preparation for tree planting. Colder temperatures will mean the other deciduous trees in the area will have lost their leaves, and the herbaceous plants in your grounds will have died back. With grass in a state of dormancy too, you have the perfect opportunity to take a step back to take a good look at the structure of your grounds and gardens, which helps with planning where to place additional trees.

You can also take advantage of the dormant season to amend the soil with organic matter or nutrients, improving the conditions for your newly planted tree.


Availability of Trees Is Optimal In Winter

Nurseries often have a wide selection of trees available in winter meaning you will have the widest choice available to you to suit your landscaping needs. Supplied as bare-root plants, and often as small ‘whips’ or trees that are just a few years old, will keep your costs low in establishing new woodland areas. Birch, beech, hawthorn and flowering cherry trees are often a popular choice, but don’t dismiss fruit trees and ornamental specimens such as acers to add interest to your planting schemes.

Choose British-grown trees, and ideally choose trees that have been grown locally to be assured they will withstand the growing conditions you will be able to offer them in your site. With fewer demands for watering and grounds maintenance during the winter, you can focus on ensuring your newly planted trees receive the care they need without the intense maintenance required in spring and summer.


Early Establishment For Biodiversity Net Gain

Trees provide habitat and food sources for wildlife. Planting in winter allows the trees to become established before the breeding season for many birds and insects, ensuring that your landscape can support local wildlife populations.

By planting in winter, you provide your trees with a head start on establishment. When spring arrives, the trees will already have a more developed root system, making them better equipped to handle the warmer weather and as they come into leaf, the local wildlife populations will move in.


Tips for Successful Winter Tree Planting

We are always on hand to come and site inspect to help you with your tree planting choices, but here are our top tips:

  • Choose the right tree species for your climate and soil conditions, and choose British-grown as locally as possible to the planting site.
  • Plant on mild, dry days in the winter when the ground isn't frozen. Any time until the trees come into bud is ideal, which gives you a fairly broad window of activity.
  • Ensure proper tree placement and spacing to accommodate mature growth, taking into account the placement of established trees, and nearby structures.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture and insulate the soil.
  • Provide initial watering to help settle the soil and hydrate the tree, checking in on the trees regularly through winter to ensure they remain staked and stable.


By taking advantage of the dormant season, you will provide your trees with the best possible start, setting them up for a healthy and robust future. So, don't let the winter chill deter you; call us in and get ready to make a positive impact on your environment by planting trees this winter.


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If you are a facilities manager, property or landowner looking for a reliable ground maintenance team for either the renovation of your grounds, water features or are looking for a regular maintenance contract, get in touch with us.

Telephone: (0114) 269 9119


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