The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. … 10 years … 5 years ago.

Sorry. The second best time is right now.

Let’s try again: Arbour Day/week is in Spring, but what time of the year is the best time to plant trees? Autumn is actually a better time to plant trees. The reasons being that:

  • The heavy rains are past, but the rain season is not quite over. The newly planted trees can be watered well in April, a little less in May, and then gradually less and less through Winter, starting to water more from September onwards.

  • The worst heat of Summer has past.

  • Naturally the plants go into a semi-rest period in Winter, and start growing actively again in Spring. Plant in Autumn respects this cycle. The trees can go into their time of rest at the right time, shed their leaves at the right time and then sprout new leaves at the right time as well.

What tree to plant? Should we plant the Tree of the Year?

A tree of your own area usually is a good idea. First see where the Tree of the Year grows naturally, what growing requirements it has, what size it becomes, etc. There are other factors to consider as well:

  • Does the tree come from a Winter- or Summer rainfall area?

  • Does it need a lot of water or is it drought resistant?

  • Do you want an evergreen tree or a deciduous one?

  • Must the tree you need be fast-growing to hide something ugly quickly?

  • Must the tree be tall and slender or with a wide shade-giving crown?

  • Are the roots aggressive or not? How far should you plant it from your house?

  • Must it give just light shade so that the lawn can still grow under it, or a good solid shade?

  • Can it stand cold or is it a Lowveld tree?

  • And so on …

Thus, as with every decision one has to make, it pays to put your thinking cap on.

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