Fall Perfect for Planting Trees

Source(s): Jim Midcap, Extension Horticulturist, The University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The glaring heat of this summer may have you convinced that you need more shade in your yard. And fall is the perfect time to plant trees to create that needed shade.

Fall planting allows the trees’ root systems to become established and supply the moisture needed for next spring’s growth. This way your trees will get off to a great start.

Many ornamental trees give us a bountiful display of spring or summer flowers, too. Specimen trees attract attention because of their unique form and beauty.

So how do you select the right tree for the right place?

First, ask what you really need in your landscape.

Do you need shade over the patio from a large tree with wide-spreading branches? Do you need a splash of color you can see in the far meadow from the deck? Do you have the perfect place for an accent tree?

Next, do you have the space you need?

In particular, look at the room needed for the spread of the branches. Mature trees often reach out 20 to 30 feet in all directions, requiring a 40- to 60-foot open area.

Are there wires overhead? Wires limit the head room and may limit you to small trees or no trees at all. What about underground utilities and drain fields? Don’t plant trees directly over these.

Third, consider the strength of the wood and pest resistance of the trees. We’re always looking for pest-resistant trees that require little maintenance.

Finally, how about growth rate? Are you planting for your own gratification? Or can you plant trees for a future generation?
Here’s a short list of great, fast-growing trees that can fulfill your landscape needs. These are just a few of the lesser-known trees you can plant in the fall.

  • The red maple called October Glory is fast- growing with good, green summer foliage and bright red leaves in late fall. It’s dependable year after year.
  • The Shumard oak grows faster than most trees and has a nice, broad, oval crown. It has shiny, dark-green summer foliage and russet-red fall color. It quickly becomes a large, stately tree.
  • Willow oak leaves are long and willow-like. It’s a tough oak for moist or dry sites and makes a dependable large shade tree.
  • Lacebark elm loses its bark in small, puzzle- like pieces, creating a delicate pattern on the trunk and larger branches. The small leaves are glossy green and pest-resistant. This tough tree is extremely drought-tolerant. It’s a dependable, fast-growing shade tree.

The fall color of trees’ foliage greatly livens our landscapes. Several of the more dependable trees for fall color are the brilliant yellow ginkgo, wine-red sourwood, red and orange sugar maple (Southern sugar maple in central and southern Georgia) and Chinese pistache.

Resource(s): Landscape Plants for Georgia

Center Publication Number: 155

Jim Midcap
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