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It's Time to Plant!

Judy Wagley
These trees are ready to go to a new home and be planted!

JW: I have heard that the best time to plant a tree is 100 years ago. But the next best time is now. I'm Judy Wagley, this is “From the Ground Up!” I'm at North Star Gardens in Gaylord with Kari Fulton. And she also says that planting a tree now is a great idea. Thanks for joining me today, Kari.

Judy Wagley
Kari Fulton is the Nursery Stock Manager at North Star Gardens in Gaylord.

KF: Hi, Judy. It's nice to be here.

JW: Kari, here on “From the Ground Up!” we talked to the manager here, Brent Schultz, back in May. And he took us step by step on how to plant a tree. And we'll encourage our listeners to go back and find that on the WCMU website. But today we'll talk about why fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs.

KF: Judy it's a nice time to plant trees and shrubs because this time of year they're getting ready to go dormant, you're getting them in the ground in their new home. So that come spring, they've got the benefit of our spring melt to keep them well watered, and when they wake up, they're in their new home-- so there's no transplant shock.

JW: Is this good for any type of tree?

KF: Right now this is a good time to plant most deciduous trees and shrubs and evergreens. We just recommend holding off on planting fruit trees this time of year because here in our area, they need a little bit longer growing season to really get established.

JW: Kari, do trees and shrubs need special care at this time of year?

KF: We always recommend whenever you're planting a tree or shrub that you amend your soil, loosen up that root ball really well. And then planting this time of year, mulch is going to be your best friend. You really want to make sure that you put down a heavy layer of mulch to protect that root zone, making sure that you're staying an inch or two away from that trunk so you don't have to worry about moisture sitting against the trunk. And other than that-- short of a few plants that may need special care like burlap-- other than that, no real special care.

JW: What about transplanting trees and shrubs-- say if you have little seedlings somewhere on your property, is it okay to move them at this time?

KF: Once a tree has gone dormant. So-- with a maple or an oak, if it's dropped its leaves, that tree is now dormant. So now is a great time to transplant. But you really do want to hold off transplanting until that tree or shrub has gone dormant so that it's not putting any energy into trying to get established and put new growth on. It's just gonna go to sleep in its new home and wake up in the spring where it needs to be.

JW: I think we've all noticed that our weather patterns have been a bit atypical.

KF: That's very true, the last few years it's been different.

JW: So what is the timing for planting or transplanting trees? What is our deadline?

KF: We say here the deadline is when you can no longer get a shovel in the ground. So I've transplanted as late as the end of November, beginning of December if Mother Nature has cooperated. If you can get a shovel in the ground, it's okay to plant.

JW: And then as Brent said back in May, “Water, water, water!”

KF: This time of year you can slow down on your watering schedule because Mother Nature is providing some good rain, and you don't want to increase and encourage too much growth. So during the spring and summer, we recommend normally every other day for 20 minutes to a half hour. In the fall, we recommend extending that out a little bit. So go every three days if we haven't gotten rain. You really want to make sure that with our cooler nights, they're not going to bed in really wet soil. So let them dry out a bit more between waterings this time of year.

JW: Kari, we while we're thinking about planting trees and shrubs in the fall, anything else we should be planting?

KF: I love to plant perennials this time of year. That way again, they're not suffering through transplant shock. It's a great time to design new beds and move perennials around so that you're ready to go in the spring with that first flush of blooms. It's a great time to plant spring flowering bulbs; small fruit like raspberries and blueberries do very well planted in the fall-- and garlic. Don't forget garlic.

JW: So there's plenty to do this time of year out in the yard and garden.

KF: There sure is Judy, between planting, pruning, mulching and cleaning up those beds--it's going to be a busy time till the snow flies.

JW: And I think some of us look forward to that-- and some of us don't so much. But meanwhile, get busy out in the garden. Plant perennials, shrubs, trees-- and let them do their thing over the winter.

KF: That's about it, Judy, if you can plant it, you'll appreciate it in the spring.

JW: Kari Fulton from North Star Gardens in Gaylord-- thanks so much for joining me today for “From the Ground Up!”

KF: Thanks for having us. We appreciate it.

Judy Wagley is WCMU's midday host, and is the producer of <b><a href="">The Children's Bookshelf</a></b> and <b><a href="">From the Ground Up!</a></b> She guides listeners through their weekdays from 9am to 3pm.<br/>