Why Tree Planting in Winter is a Good Thing

treeplanting1In Central Texas, now is the time to plant trees. Tree planting in the late fall and winter is a good thing especially considering we’ve had unseasonably warm weather this year. That makes conditions more favorable for tree planting. Many excellent varieties of trees are available at your local nursery. Pick one that works with your landscape. Ask the nursery staff if you have questions.

Why is tree planting in winter so good?

If you plant a tree in winter, by spring, your tree will have established roots. When spring arrives, the tree will be on its way to providing shade for years and years to come. Planting a tree during winter gives a tree a fighting chance come summer. Why? It will be ready for growing season and the roots will be established and better able to handle the hot weather that plagues Central Texas during late Spring through late Summer. The tree will start to acclimatize itself to the soil so in spring it grows as normal.

What is smart tree planting?

Smart tree planting means that you plant trees that you can easily water and sustain. Newly planted trees should be watered often – about three times a week. This, of course, depends on rain and proper drainage. With each watering, you should apply 5 gallons per inch of trunk diameter as it is measured six inches above the ground. For example, a tree with a 1-inch diameter should get 5 gallons of water, three times a week. That’s 15 gallons in total per week. You can alter this watering schedule depending on soil moisture. You want to make sure the root zone is not too dry or too wet. Since soil dries slower in lower temperatures, watering needs will decrease in the winter.

The key is selecting the right tree for the right location. You can talk with your nursery staff or contact our arborist for more information on choosing the best size and type for your garden. You can also check out this website at: http://texastreeplanting.tamu.edu/.

Some tree planting tips

Planning is a crucial part before digging the hole. You should select the trees that will adapt to the sunlight and soil conditions around your home. Decide whether you want an evergreen or deciduous tree, which allows for winter sunlight. You should consider the tree’s mature height and width so you can plant it a safe distance from your home and utility lines. A shade tree that matures to 25 or more feet, for example, should be planted at least 20 feet from your home and utility lines. A tree that grows to 20 or less feet should be spaced at least 10 feet from those areas.

Still got questions about tree planting? Guess what? We can plant your trees for you. All you have to do is maintain them and take care of them. We, at Austin Tree Service, love tree planting. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 today. You know we’ll do it right.






How to promote healthy growth of a newly planted tree?

planting a tree
You have a newly planted tree. You want to promote healthy growth. How do you do it? Well, there are some steps you should follow to keep your tree healthy.

Avoid Transplant Shock

Many newly planted trees suffer from stress because of root loss when dug up at the nursery. This condition is called transplant shock. It results in the newly planted tree’s vulnerability to drought, insects and other issues. Basically, transplant shock lasts until the natural balance between the root system and the top or crown of the transplanted tree is restored. A tree’s chances of survival can be improved through practices that establish the root system. You must care for your tree regularly during the first three years of transplanting.

Protect Tree Roots and Transplanting

An undisturbed, healthy tree usually has a very shallow root system. With good planting techniques and soil conditions, the establishment phase takes one growing season per inch of trunk diameter. On small trees, for example, trunk diameter is measured six inches above the soil line. A two-inch diameter tree takes about two years to establish. In warmer regions of the Unites States, like Texas, however, the establishment phase can be measured in months. One way to determine that the tree is establishing is by observing twig growth. The more twig growth, the more established the tree is.

It’s important to know that the root system normally extends beyond the branch spread. Fine roots absorb water and nutrients that are located very near the soil surface. This is usually located in the top four to ten inches. A natural balance exists between the roots where the water is absorbed and the top of the tree where water is utilized and transpired to the atmosphere.

When a tree is dug for transplanting, about 95% of the roots are severed. This causes the newly transplanted tree suffers from water stress. The crown can lose water faster than it can be absorbed by the limited root mass. Water stress, in turn, can reduce the ability of leaves to produce energy, diminish the growth of all parts of the tree, and subject the tree to many other environmental and pest-related problems.

Generating Root Systems of Newly Planted Trees

You need to have rapid root regeneration for your newly planted tree to survive. Keeping the top of the tree alive and healthy until the natural balance between the roots and top is restored is essential. Initial root development of a newly planted tree is supported by energy stored within the trunk, branch and root tissues. To get continued root growth during the establishment period, your tree has to depend on the leaves of the tree producing high levels of carbohydrates during the growing season, especially during the first year following transplanting.

At this point, pruning trees is not recommended. You should leave the entire top intact to favor rapid development of a supporting root system. Top pruning should be restricted to removing broken and damaged branches and developing a good tree structure. Supplemental watering is critical to avoiding moisture stress.

Plant Your Tree Properly and Give it Regular Follow-Up Care

Proper tree planting site selection is very important when planting a tree. Trees planted on inappropriate sites or in poor soil environments will not survive. If the tree and site are properly matched, successful transplanting can be achieved with good planting procedures and regular maintenance following planting. Urban planting sites usually have dense, compacted subsoils with little to no top soil. Water cannot easily infiltrate compacted soils, and, with heavy rains or overwatering may remain for long periods in loose soil. In excessively wet soil, oxygen is unavailable in sufficient amounts to support root growth.

Trees planted in compacted or wet soils have to develop fine root systems near the soil surface where oxygen is most available. If you enlarge the top of the hole two to three times that of the root ball, the diameter increases the amount of loose, backfill soil near the surface where conditions are not favorable for root growth. Generally speaking, soil from the planting hole should be used to backfill around the root ball. If organic matter is used to amend the soil, it should be incorporated in an area large enough to accommodate root growth for several years.

Watering & Mulching

You should water and mulch a newly planted tree to make sure it stays healthy. Soil moisture is definitely important during the first three years following transplanting. Studies show that carbohydrate levels which are critical for root generation are NOT lowered if newly planted trees are adequately watered. One inch of water each week for the first season is recommended. You should monitor the soil and apply water as needed, however. Overwatering can cause as many problems as under-watering so be careful.

If you mulch a large area around newly planted trees with three to four inches or wood chips or bark, soil moisture will be conserved and the soil temperature itself will remain moderate. Mulch will inhibit the growth of grass. Grass can provide serious competition for resources while you’re trying to establish roots.


We hope these tips will help you have healthy growth for your newly planted trees. If you follow these suggestions, you should be able to get through the planting period safely and successfully. Call us at Austin Tree Service if you have questions. We’re more than happy to help.

Tree Planting in Winter

treeplantingWinter is one of the best times to plant a tree in Austin. Tree planting in winter will give you a green spring. Some of the best trees are available at the nursery in winter. All you have to do is look. If you’d like to know what kinds of trees work best in your yard, give us a call at 512-341-8888 and we’ll be happy to tell you what to look for. The important thing to remember is that if you plant your new tree in winter, it will use the winter dormant season to establish new roots. That way – when spring arrives, your tree will be on its way to providing much-needed shade for your yard and home.

A basic guideline for high quality trees is:

  • They have enough sound roots to support healthy growth,
  • They have a single, central trunk or leader,
  • They have a trunk that is free of mechanical wounds and wounds from incorrect pruning,
  • They have a strong form with well-spaced, firmly attached branches,
  • And they have leaves with good color and no obvious insect or disease damage.

You should stick with native varieties of trees to plant. These will need less water and can survive in our 100+ degree summer weather. Some of the best trees to plant in Austin are Bur Oak, Texas Ash and a Pecan tree. Cedar Elm and Chinquapin Oak are also good to plant in the Austin area.

Why Should I Plant a Tree?

Energy Conservation – if you plant your trees strategically on the west, south and east sides of your home, you can reduce cooling costs by up to 50%. Deciduous trees shade your home during the hot summer months and allow sunlight to warm your home during the winter.

Increased Property Value – Having trees in your yard can enhance the economic vitality of your home. They can increase property values by as much as 20%. If you’re looking to sell in the spring or summer, planting a tree in winter will make sure it’s ready by then.

Wildlife Habitat – Trees provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife in urban settings.

Aesthetics – Trees beautify our landscapes. They have also been known to have an impact on our sense of well-being.

Improved Air Quality – Trees act as filters. They trap dust and absorb air pollutants while releasing vital oxygen into the air for us to breathe.

We hope this brief guideline has helped you to understand why planting trees in Austin during the winter are a good practice and how to get the best trees to plant. If you have any questions about tree planting, feel free to contact us at Austin Tree Service. We’re always happy to help.