Q: I recently received small trees from the Arbor Day Foundation (river birch, an assortment of maples, dogwood, and an oak). Is it too late to put them in the ground this year? Would I be better off to pot them until early spring?
A: Garden experts are so adamant about the benefits of fall planting that we forget to say other planting times could also work. There is no harm in planting your trees now. For large trees, such as you would find in a nursery, fall planting is much preferred. But for small trees, fall or winter planting is just fine.
Even though they are small, you must still provide them with a large area of softened soil (minimum four feet in all directions) for the roots to expand into over the next few years. Read the label on each tree to determine how tall and wide it will grow. I hope you have a large property because trees like this will take up a lot of room at maturity. If you can’t fit them all in, you could offer them to friends and neighbors.