What's the best time to plant trees? This is one of the most common questions we get asked. The traditional time of the year for planting saplings, seedlings, whips, hedging plants is from November to March.
The reason for this is that traditionally the only economic way of planting was to buy bare root plants which were grown from seed in outdoor nurseries and after 1-2 years they would be carefully dug up in November and sold as bare root plants.
This works because once the young trees enter dormancy the transplanting process from being dug out to replanted elsewhere will not in the main affect the plants survival. It works reasonably well on the whole and much will depend on the quality of the plants and the manner in which they are dug up and how quickly they are re-planted.
Warmer autumns causing often later onset of the dormancy period has narrowed the bare root season often commencing late in November.
Due to market pressure bare root plants can often be dug up too early in October or November before the dormancy period has set in, are often imported cheaply from Eastern Europe, kept in refrigerators and generally not kept and transported in ideal conditions.
So traditionally before the advent of Cell Grown trees which is what Trees to Plant specialise in selling, almost all planting of forestry, hedging and garden and fruit trees was undertaken between End of November & March.
However Cell Grown Trees have changed the traditional November to March planting season. Cell Grown trees are seedlings or saplings that have been grown in greenhouses or polytunnels in specially designed seed trays like Rootrainers which encourage quick grown, good strong root establishment and are picked, packed and sold as plug plants so there is no need to wait till November as they are available year round and can be planted at any time of the year, though in the summer months if it is dry for prolonged periods any newly planted Cell Grown trees will need some watering.
Despite being slightly more expensive than bare root trees, cell grown trees have a higher success rate, establish in the ground faster with no "check" period, take seconds to plant, cheaper to transport, easier to handle and will generally outgrow both bare root and pot grown transplants over 5-10 years.