When the best time to plant a tree? may be a simple question, but having accurate answer is not that simple. As, the successful outcome of planting a tree by seed or transplanting a seedling; has a high influence on the date it done. Determination of the best time, when referring about the the climatic conditions at the site; is best when observing the natural rhythm of native tree growth. Which provides solid and reliable guidelines. Most tree species exhibit an annual cycle of growth and reproduction, which goes hand in hand with factors, such as: climatic, temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, some tropical or subtropical trees bear flowers and fruits continually throughout the year. Reason why, the analysis on the subject is done best when considering both the best planting times in the middle latitudes and subtropics; and whether you are planting seeds or transplanting seedlings or saplings.
<h2> Best time to plant a tree: Seedling </h2>
In the middle latitudes, trees and shrubs flower and ripen fruit in the summer season. Seeds fall to the ground and remain in a dormant state until late the following spring when warmer temperatures trigger germination. Planting a tree from seed, therefore, should be in spring once the danger of frost is over. As insurance against failure, it is best to plant two or three seeds together in the same hole. If more than one germinates you can wait to see which is the healthiest and most vigorous and eliminate the others.
If the planting material is a seedling or even a sapling, spring in the middle latitudes is the best time to make the transplant. Keeping in mind, that young plants in their establishment phase are expanding their root systems. And, in parallel with producing new branches and leaves. Hence young plants need protection from physical damage aboveground, with stakes or cages; and care taken not to impede full root development underground.
<h2> Seedling in the Tropics and Subtropics </h2>
When planting tree seed in the subtropics or tropics, where temperature is not a constraint; the best recommendation is to sow seeds during the rainiest period, again with more than one seed per hole. Germination during the wetter season provides seedling plants with sufficient water and permits good establishment before the more active growing season of higher temperatures.
<h2> Best time to Transplant a Tree </h2>
Transplanting a seedling or larger plant in warmer climates is best towards the end of the rainier season. This will allow the plant to establish and achieve good growth during the following warmer period. The comments above about transplanting in the middle latitudes also apply here.
Landscapers are not in agreement with regard to the practice of staking young newly-planted trees. Staking may discourage normal root development and physically damage the trunk, and is probably not necessary where soils are fertile. But staking for a year or two may be justified if soils are shallow or infertile. If stakes are used, care should be given to drive them into the ground so as not to penetrate the root ball. Following these suggestions for the time of planting, along with recommended practices in terms of seedling selection, hole preparation, fertilizer application, watering and early pruning, should result in healthy and vigorous growth of the young tree.