5 Trees You Can Plant In Fall - Is Fall A Good Time To Plant Trees

Woman And Child Planting A Tree
(Image credit: JackF)

Is fall a good time to plant trees? You’d better believe it. Many experts believe that autumn is the best time of the year for tree planting. That means there are lots of different trees you can plant in fall.

If you are wondering what trees can be planted in the fall, read on. We’ll give you a short list of our favorites.

Is Fall a Good Time to Plant Trees?

It is uncontested that the best seasons for tree planting are spring and fall. While spring planting works for many trees, there are more than a few good reasons to wait and plant trees in the fall. For one thing, fall temperatures range from moderate to cool and get even cooler still in winter. That means that the transplanted trees won’t face the stress of extreme heat during their first months in the ground. 

In addition, typical fall weather is rainy, and the natural irrigation assists both trees and shrubs to develop strong root systems. The root development gets top priority in autumn, since the air is cooler than the soil, discouraging canopy growth. 

Plant Trees In the Fall

What trees can be planted in the fall? Which are the best trees to plant in fall? 

Almost any trees will do well when transplanted in autumn. The ideal transplant dates are between mid-August through mid-October, while your current trees still have leaves on the branches. If you don’t have any trees yet, check the soil temperature. As long as it is 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) or above, you are fine to transplant.

If you wait until late fall to plant, the chance of plant failure increases. Ideally, you want the new trees to have some six weeks of mild weather to develop roots before the ground freezes. Toward the end of October, the weather can drop quickly, preventing the tree roots from getting a good start.

Best Trees to Plant in the Fall

The list of trees you can plant in the fall is endless, but everyone has their favorites. Here are a few of ours.

  • Buckeye – These majestic trees can be planted from the seeds that fall in early autumn. Soak them for 24 hours before planting just under the soil surface.
  • Maple – There are dozens of types of maples to choose among. For small gardens, consider Japanese maple with their deeply cut leaves and fiery fall color. Sugar maple – beloved giants with the sweet syrup - require a big backyard.
  • Crabapple – If you plant crabapple trees in a full sun location in autumn, they will get a good start. They prefer loamy, well-drained soil. Look forward to their beautiful spring flowers. 
  • Linden – This is a tree that plants particularly well in fall. And as they grow and mature, they are at their most attractive in autumn with wonderful golden fall foliage.
  • Spruce and pine – Most evergreen trees do best when planted in autumn. Both spruce and pine are among those trees you can plant in fall. They are cold hardy and can thrive in cold regions in poor soil. 
Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.