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When to plant trees and shrubs

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Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Robert Mineau)
Carya ovata

After you have chosen the right plant for the right place, you have to decide on the best time to plant it. Some tips:

  • If possible, choose a cool, cloudy day. If you have to plant when it is extremely hot and dry, there are a number of things you will have to do to limit the amount of water lost to evaporation: water thoroughly and more often, or shelter the plant from the wind or sun.
  • When planting in spring, make sure that the ground has thawed and dried out enough to be workable.
  • Avoid planting tender (non-hardy) plants in late fall.
  • Determine when to plant bare root trees and shrubs and those that are balled and burlapped or container grown by referring to the information below. These do not have the same requirements in terms of planting period.

When to plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs

When the plant is dormant:

  • In spring, as soon as the ground thaws until just before the buds open (from about mid-April to mid-May).
  • In fall, once new shoots have hardened off until the first frost (from about August 15 to the first frost).

Evergreens:

  • In spring, as soon as the ground thaws until new shoots appear in June.
  • In fall, once new shoots have hardened off until 6 weeks before the first frost (from about August 15 to September 15).

When to plant balled and burlapped trees and shrubs

As soon as the ground thaws in spring until it freezes in fall (special attention required when it is very hot and dry).

When to plant container grown trees and shrubs

As soon as the ground thaws in spring until it freezes in fall (special attention required when it is very hot and dry).

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